How will ACC presidents vote on boycotts – and do we really need to know?

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The eyes of North Carolina were trained on Brooklyn this weekend as Duke won another ACC tournament.

But the most interesting meeting  may have occurred off the court, where the conference’s university presidents gathered.

One issue likely to be on the table is whether the conference will withhold athletic tournaments from North Carolina because of House Bill 2. (The men’s basketball tournament is slated to be in Charlotte in 2019 and Greensboro in 2020.) Most conservatives who favor HB2 obviously want the chancellors to vote no on any economic boycott, while most liberals would love to gain more support for their efforts to repeal the law.

Veteran Raleigh journalist Paul Chesser, a strong conservative, has been pressing the presidents of UNC Chapel Hill and N.C. State University for months to see how they would vote on such a measure. They won’t say. A decision is expected in the next month or so after ACC Commissioner John Swofford urged N.C. lawmakers to resolve the issue or risk losing the tournaments.

We asked Carolina, State and the ACC for comment. N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson said via email he didn’t know if the matter was on the agenda, and he suggested contacting the ACC. UNC Chancellor Carol Folt couldn’t be reached for comment; a UNC spokeswoman referred us to the ACC.

ACC spokeswoman Amy Yakola said the presidents’ agenda isn’t public and the conference would provide any updates when relevant.

The issue also sparked some dissension on the UNC System Board of Governors, which oversees the 17-campus system. Marty Kotis, a Greensboro developer with a maverick reputation, sent an email to the entire board asking that any vote by Folt or Woodson be made public. He opposes all economic boycotts and favors transparency, he said in an interview. He also said he would not favor any retribution if the chancellors voted contrary to his viewpoint. It’s just better for public servants to have their cards on the table rather than hide their decisions, he said.

Kotis’ email sparked a reply from fellow governor Joe Knott, a Raleigh lawyer who said the board should not be dictating to the chancellors on such an issue. “The Chancellors work for the President of the University.  They are responsible to her, not to us. If the President is unhappy with, or does not trust her Chancellors, it is her responsibility to correct their performance or replace them.” He also noted that, “talented individuals usually accomplish more in private negotiations than in the chaos of a town hall atmosphere.”

A lot of money and prestige is at stake. The NCAA may announce its championship venues for 2018-22 by mid-April, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. North Carolina sites have submitted 133 NCAA bids. From 2018-22, North Carolina was chosen to host 29 NCAA events, more than all but three other states, the paper said.




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