The North Carolina Legislature, proud authors of the controversial, anti-LGBT House Bill 2, is back at it again.
Five Republican House members are seeking to push through legislature that would pull state colleges and universities from any athletic conference that boycotts North Carolina in the future. Concurrently, the legislature is considering a law that would invalidate gay marriages in the state.
The threat to pull state institutions from athletic conferences is a clear shot at the ACC. The conference voted to pull all neutral-site championships from North Carolina, including the ACC Football Championship Game, in 2016-2017. Once HB2 died, the ACC said it will reconsider the state for neutral-site games.
If the ACC thought everything was going to go back to normal, they don't know the North Carolina Legislature.
"I don’t want to hurt athletics in North Carolina,” said Rep. Mark Brody, according to the Charlotte Observer. "I just don’t support this action that they’ve taken to go beyond athletics and legislate to us."
This is an interesting quote for two reasons.
First off, HB2 was the state legislating to Charlotte. The city had just enacted an ordinance that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. So some state legislators don't want to be legislated to by the ACC or the Supreme Court, but they're cool legislating to others. For the record, Charlotte had to pull its ordinance before the state repealed HB2.
Secondly, the ACC never legislated to North Carolina. They just twisted the state's arm a little bit. Nobody likes being bullied less than a bully. It's telling that the state caved after the NCAA Men's Tournament, which plays some of its games in Greensboro, NC. The legislators finally cried "uncle" after being pressured, not legislated to.
So, what's the response from legislators who feel like they got bullied by the ACC? Temper tantrum. Using legislation to pull state colleges from conferences who boycott North Carolina, specifically UNC and NC State from the ACC, is a hissy fit from legislators backing this bill. It would turn a blind eye to fans who want UNC and NC State to stay in the ACC, maintaining classic rivalries and staying in a strong basketball conference, which is all that matters to most college fans in the state.
But damn all that. Nobody gets to tell the North Carolina legislature what to do. Not the ACC, not the people, not the Supreme Court. Nobody.
"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very
disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more
important than that."
Follow me on Twitter @cheedelt for more me.