State Politics

Should NC investigate NCAA, ACC for HB2 boycotts? Legislator says he’ll file bill

Triangle residents speak out on NCAA HB2 decision

News & Observer photojournalists talked with residents of the Triangle to get their opinions on the NCAA's decision to remove all tournament events from N.C. due to House Bill 2.
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News & Observer photojournalists talked with residents of the Triangle to get their opinions on the NCAA's decision to remove all tournament events from N.C. due to House Bill 2.

An N.C. House Republican says the NCAA and ACC have “stepped out of bounds” by moving sports championships out of North Carolina over House Bill 2.

Rep. Mark Brody, a Republican from Monroe, announced in a Facebook post Sunday that he’ll file a bill this week to address the boycotts.

Brody says his “Athletic Association Accountability Act” will “determine whether the NCAA and the ACC have violated their tax-exempt status by engaging in political or lobbying activities.”

“The NCAA and the ACC have allegedly engaged in excessive lobbying activities that exceeded their respective charters by using economic retaliation against NC for the purpose of forcing the General Assembly to adopt social legislation that is not connected to their core mission,” Brody wrote.

“I believe the NCAA and the ACC have stepped out of bounds and, to the best of my ability, will never allow the General Assembly to relinquish its legislative authority over the internal affairs of the state or succumb to economic extortion to and from either the NCAA or the ACC.”

In September, the NCAA relocated seven championships, including men’s basketball tournament games, for the current academic year to other states due to concerns that the law is discriminatory, and the organization could ban North Carolina from hosting future championships. HB2 struck down local nondiscrimination ordinances and requires transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate while they are in schools and other government facilities.

VIDEO: NCAA president Mark Emmert discusses North Carolina's passing of HB2 and possible impact on hosting NCAA events in the future.

The ACC followed a few weeks later and announced it would move 10 neutral-site championships scheduled in North Carolina during the 2016-17 academic year.

It’s unclear how Brody’s proposal would work, and his Facebook post offers no further details about his bill. According to the IRS website, nonprofit groups can’t have tax-exempt status “if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation.” The groups “may engage in some lobbying, but too much lobbying activity risks loss of tax-exempt status.”

Brody isn’t the first Republican politician to question whether the boycotts should be considered excessive lobbying under Internal Revenue Service standards.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson of Concord brought up the issue when the ACC announced its boycott last year. “This blatant political move – less than two months before the election – brings into question their tax-exempt status,” he said in a news release at the time. “This is an avenue we intend to explore.”

University of North Carolina coach Roy Williams calls HB2 "discriminatory", "harmful" and "not right" while talking about the N.C. law and politics at his weekly press conference Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017.

North Carolina’s legislature passed a law that prevents transgender people from using government-run bathrooms corresponding to the gender with which they identify. The law — House Bill 2 (HB2) — has incited a state-wide civil liberties battle. He

Colin Campbell: 919-829-4698, @RaleighReporter

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