Lawmakers Want To Force North Carolina Universities To Compete In Sports

One of the things that I believe makes college athletics so incredible are the rivalries. They date back generations and unlike professional sports where most people in a general area are fans of the local team, with college you are surrounded by fans of your rival schools in daily life. Especially in the state of North Carolina. While there are numerous D1 schools in the state the four that are members of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) are many times known as the big 4- Duke, NC State, UNC, and Wake Forest. NC State and UNC Only two of those schools are public NC State and UNC. Both schools, especially in football have a fierce rivalry. I graduated from NC State and my dad went there as well, and I can tell you that for my entire life, I have never owned anything Carolina blue. We all know about the Duke and UNC rivalry as well, in basketball it's one of the most heated in all of sports. And while not as strong I'd feel comfortable saying there is rivalry dislike between all of those 4 schools. They have the most history playing each other and have all played spoiler for the other at some point in time. But now lawmakers want to force rivalries between other North Carolina Universities. And I adamantly disagree with the proposed law. Raleigh news station WRAL is reporting that a new bill would "require the state's two biggest and richest athletic programs – UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State – to regularly play football and basketball games against other in-state public schools." The ACC Schedule currently has the two schools matched up as rivals and even when in different divisions of the ACC they played each other every year. They should. But requiring the two public powerhouse athletic programs in the state to play the smaller schools every year doesn't need to be done. (On the topic of rivalries calling UNC a powerhouse while I know is true, was painful for me so you know I feel strongly about this). The other schools this would involve include East Carolina University (ECU), Appalachian State, and UNC Charlotte. It's not that these schools don't play each other- they do. But not yearly in football and basketball. And if this bill were to pass State and UNC would have to play one of those three schools every year and would have to play each school home and away every six years. Sports tourism and economic development are the main motivations reported behind this bill. One that I adamantly oppose. Before you say I'm scared (looking at you Luke Combs) I'm not. But there is no benefit to NC State and UNC in this proposed law. The two schools instead would be essentially asked to elevate the others. The matchups would be big revenue drivers for ECU, App, and Charlotte. The benefit compared to anyone currently scheduled by NC State and UNC isn't much different. If you want to do it in basketball that's fine, with more games and months of nonconference matchups the schedule space is there. But when it comes to a 12-game football season? That's a hard pass. It's not like these schools don't play periodically. the teams do play. UNC recently completed a home-and-home series with Appalachian State over the last two years and has matchups with Charlotte in the next two seasons. They also play ECU fairly often. NC State opened its season in Greenville at ECU in 2022. And has a home-and-home series scheduled with all three programs between 2025 and 2031. I get there is interest and benefit to the states with these matchups. And it's fun-every few years. But in a highly competitive ever changing college sports landscape having additional schedule restrictions for schools to comply with is unnecessary. In the current iteration of the ACC schools including State and UNC play 8 conference matchups and 4 out of conference games. This would commit one of those 4 games every year to an in-state matchup. I don't pretend to understand the ins and outs of scheduling, the money behind it, and the strategy. But I do know there is a strategy and it's well thought out. I also know that a win for either team against one of those three schools isn't going to be looked at as a "good win". The Power 4 teams are supposed to beat G5 teams. Sure upsets happen, we see it weekly. But if you lose, to a team hyped up to play the big dogs in the state, it's a terrible loss. It's a no-win situation for NC State and UNC. No disrespect to ECU, App, or Charlotte but it's true. In discussing this with someone this morning, we agreed I'd rather get the exposure of playing a big team. To kick off the 2024 season, NC State will play Tennessee in Charlotte as a part of the Duke's Mayo College Kickoff Game. UNC played South Carolina in the game last year with ESPN's College Game Day on site. These are big-time games, providing more national exposure and a chance at huge wins for both teams. Plus a good payday from the TV money. I'm well aware there is certainly no guarantee to leave with a win. But I'd rather have a chance at beating Tennessee and all that comes with that, than a game at Charlotte. The bill in question, House Bill 965, is titled UNC Intrastate Athletic Competition. It is sponsored by Representatives. Jason Saine, Jake Johnson, Ray Pickett, and David Willis. It would become effective on July 1 if passed. I sincerely hope it doesn't pass. The government doesn't need to be involved in college football scheduling plain and simple. Save the involvement for when conference realignment comes up. 24/7 Sports reports that NC State and UNC's reaction to this bill will factor into if it passes. So I'm hopeful that the schools can agree to decline this. Leave that to the experts. The teams will still play often enough. I'd rather have an ACC schedule that lets us play Wake and Duke every year if we are doing anything. You can read more on this bill from WRAL here.

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