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Bill: Make Athletics Communication Public Record

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Copyright 2017 News & Record (Greensboro, North Carolina)
All Rights Reserved

News & Record (Greensboro, North Carolina)

 

After the bipartisan-supported repeal of House Bill 2 on March 30 - with two controversial stipulations - in House Bill 142, the Atlantic Coast Conference agreed on March 31 to again consider North Carolina venues for future neutral-site championships.

On April 4, the NCAA said HB142 met minimal requirements for the venues to be considered for its 2018-22 hosting cycle.

On April 18, the NCAA awarded 26 neutral-site championships to North Carolina for its 2018-22 cycle.

On April 19, the ACC extended its contracts for eight neutral-site championship events in North Carolina by one year. That included women's basketball at Greensboro Coliseum through 2023, women's golf at Sedgefield Country Club (Ross course) through 2021, and swimming and diving at Greensboro Aquatics Center through 2023.

RALEIGH - A state House committee on Tuesday recommended a bill that would classify communications between UNC system schools and their athletic conferences as public record.

The Republican-sponsored Senate Bill 323 is a response to House Bill 2, the divisive transgender restroom bill that was repealed March 30. Some lawmakers had criticized the ACC and NCAA for moving championship events out of North Carolina after HB 2 became law in 2016.

The bill says athletic conference communications with UNC schools and documents related to membership would be public record. SB 323 specifically mentions the ACC and the NCAA, but it would apply to all UNC schools - including UNC-Greensboro and N.C. A&T - regardless of athletic conference affiliation.

The bill lists "documents, papers, letters, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data-processing records, artifacts and other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics" as potentially subject to state open records laws.

The bill's primary sponsor, Sen. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover) has said the bill is designed to eliminate any confusion that materials held by public universities about these affiliations are accessible.

The records issue surfaced when the ACC and NCAA pulled their 2016-17 championship games from North Carolina because of HB2.

On Tuesday, Lee was questioned about whether the law could give a competitive advantage to private colleges that wouldn't have to adhere to the expanded public records language.

Although Lee said that "certain carve-outs and proprietary protections remain in place," he later added that "taxpayers aren't paying for private universities."

Mitch Kokai, a policy analyst with the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, said that "during the debate about college sports organizations' reactions to HB 2, some lawmakers noted confusion about public record access to this information."

"It's my understanding that this bill is designed to end that confusion and clarify that these records are accessible."

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June 21, 2017
 
 
 

 

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