NC bill would require matchups against state schools in football, basketball

RALEIGH, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A bill has been filed by North Carolina legislators to ensure the state’s biggest schools play each other in football and men’s and women’s basketball.

The legislation, House Bill 965, acknowledges the economic benefits when Division 1 schools in the UNC System play against one another. It comes as the ACC is adding three schools to the conference with no regard to geography: Cal, Stanford and Southern Methodist University. The new schedules create fewer guaranteed matchups with local schools.

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The bill would require “high-enrollment” schools with at least 30,000 in total enrollment to do the following:

  • Every academic year, play at least one home or away game against another high-enrollment initiation and an eligible constituent institution that does not fall under the high-enrollment designation.

  • Every six years, play at least one home and away game against each eligible constituent institution that is not a high-enrollment institution. A high-enrollment school would alternate home and away games that are scheduled against the same eligible constituent institution that is not under high enrollment.

The bill’s sponsor is Union County Rep. David Willis, who is an Appalachian State grad.

The schools that currently qualify as high-enrollment are N.C. State, UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Charlotte. According to East Carolina’s website, the school has a total enrollment of 26,700 for 2023-24.

If passed, there would be $1 million in nonrecurring funds provided to the UNC System for the 2024-25 fiscal year. It would become effective beginning with the 2025-26 school year.

For the upcoming football season, UNC will play N.C. State as a conference game against a system school, and the Charlotte 49ers and N.C. Central for non-conference games. Last year, the Tar Heels played the second game of a two-year home-and-home series against App State.

The 2023 football season was the first since the ACC went way from divisions. Under the previous model, N.C. State went up to seven years without playing Duke, a conference opponent 25 miles away.

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