Raleigh, N.C. — The controversy over House Bill 2 and its repeal last month may be dying down, but some Republican state lawmakers don't seem to be ready to move on.
Four bills filed in the state House and one filed in the Senate would go after the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference for their parts in the boycotts that pressured GOP leaders to agree to roll back the controversial law.
House Bill 328, the "Athletic Associations Accountability Act," was filed in March as pressure on legislators grew. It calls for legislative leaders to file complaints with the IRS against both the NCAA and ACC, "alleging that the organizations have engaged in excessive lobbying activities" and have therefore violated their tax-exempt status.
The bill also would require chancellors at University of North Carolina campuses to make available as a public record the name and position of any school employee who holds office or serves on a committee of the NCAA or any member conference, as well what matters were brought before those employees and any decisions or votes they made that could "have an impact on" the school.
Two similar measures, House Bill 412 and Senate Bill 323, would specify that any records or documents of UNC system schools related to membership in or communications with the NCAA or ACC would be public record.
Another proposal, House Bill 463, calls for a special legislative commission to investigate the NCAA's treatment of student-athletes, citing "concerns over the welfare and operation of the system to the long-term detriment of the students participating in college athletics."
House Bill 728, filed Tuesday, would direct UNC system schools to respond to a boycott by the ACC or any "conference of an intercollegiate athletic association" by withdrawing from that conference. Once the current media rights deal expires in 2036, the ACC would be ineligible for UNC's media rights for five years after the boycott ends. It also says that the General Assembly has the final say on the membership of any UNC school in any conference or association.
The ACC, which is based in Greensboro, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on House Bill 728.
Bill sponsors contacted by WRAL News have not yet responded to requests for comment. But complaints about the NCAA and ACC boycotts have been a frequent refrain from legislators and advocates who supported House Bill 2. The North Carolina Values Coalition, which was involved in drafting the controversial law, even set up a website, ncaafoul.com, to encourage House Bill 2 supporters to contact the organization to register their disapproval of the boycott.
"The NCAA and the ACC’s continual and substantial lobbying efforts to influence legislation is a serious violation of the organizations’ tax exempt status under the IRS code," Values Coalition spokesman Jim Quick said. "Our legislators are right to review the efforts by these multimillion-dollar nonprofit organizations to discourage future lobbying, extortion and economic harm to our state. The NCAA and the ACC should keep their focus on the games."
Meantime, LGBT advocacy group Equality North Carolina, which opposed House Bill 2 as well as the "repeal and replace" measure signed into law two weeks ago, defended the sports organizations.
"The ACC and NCAA were among countless businesses, events and cities that decided their fans, citizens or employees weren't safe and free from discrimination under HB2," Equality NC director Cris Sgro said. "The sad fact remains that this discrimination is still deeply ingrained in North Carolina law by HB142. The sponsors of this bill should be figuring out how to protect all North Carolinians from discrimination in all walks of life if they want to solve the issue at hand. Until we do this, our state will continue to suffer."
Governor Roy Cooper's spokesman Ford Porter responded, "The legislature should stop doing things that cause these boycotts and instead spend more time boosting education, creating jobs, and extending protections to LGBT people."