North Carolina Lawmakers Should Reject Proposed Taxpayer Subsidy for the ACC | Citizens Against Government Waste

North Carolina Lawmakers Should Reject Proposed Taxpayer Subsidy for the ACC

The WasteWatcher

The NCAA’s Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) could be in line to receive a multimillion-dollar subsidy to keep its headquarters in North Carolina.  The budget proposal, released by Republican members of the state legislature on June 27, 2022, would provide the conference with $15 million to keep its headquarters located in the Tar Heel State.

The ACC has been based in Greensboro, N.C. since its creation in 1953, with four North Carolina schools—Duke University, the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and Wake Forest University—included among its founding members.  While the conference is not listed by name in the proposed legislation, the effort to disguise the funding is absurd since the bill provides it to a “qualifying sports employer” with “four charter members that are institutions of higher education in the State.”

The proposal comes after ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips told members of the conference that they would consider moving the headquarters from Greensboro if it “is in the long-term interests of the Conference.”  As rumors grew that conference leaders are considering new headquarters in either Charlotte, N.C. or Orlando, Florida, North Carolina lawmakers are apparently panicked about keeping the headquarters in the state.  If the ACC is not leaving North Carolina, there is no reason for taxpayers to give them a penny to move to another city in the state.

The News & Observer reported that the $15 million figure comes from a request made by the conference to lawmakers.  The total arises from “the expected costs of the events the group would be required to hold in the state.”  In exchange for the money, the ACC would need to host at least four men’s basketball championships and four women’s basketball championships, in addition to four baseball championships in North Carolina over the next 10 years to qualify for the funds.  This again begs the question about why they would need to give the ACC any money.

Neither the ACC nor state lawmakers provided a justification for the subsidy or an explanation of how it will benefit residents of the state.  As the News and Observer’s Luke Decock explains, the proposal would give the conference $15 million to do “nothing new.”   Decock goes on to decry the proposal as “hand out,” not a deal.  If the legislature adopts this proposal, it will shift $15 million from public funding that could be better spent elsewhere in the state on projects that provide tangible benefits to the people of North Carolina.  Lawmakers should know better than to funnel public funds into a private enterprise that will not bring additional jobs, opportunities, or new revenue to the state. 

Taxpayer subsidies for sports are nothing new.  They are a well-documented scam that allow sports club owners or leagues to fleece taxpayers to gain new facilities.  The proposed subsidy for the ACC follows this well-worn path.  Rather than allow the conference to hold taxpayers hostage with demands that the state provide millions of dollars in subsidies, lawmakers should acknowledge the at-best marginal impact of the ACC headquarters on the state and refuse to provide the requested funds.

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