Tuesday, June 18, 2024

North Carolina bill that would require UNC, NC State to play in-state Group of Five schools won’t advance

North Carolina legislation that would’ve required UNC and NC State to regularly play the state’s Group of Five schools in football will not advance further, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore said Thursday. House Bill 965, entitled “UNC Intrastate Athletic Competition,” passed through the house’s Appropriations committee earlier in the week. 

That’s as far as it will go. 

“It’s had the hearing it will have,” Moore said. “It had a committee hearing. I told them they could hear it in committee, but it won’t come to the floor.”

The bill would’ve required both UNC and NC State to play either Appalachian State, Charlotte or East Carolina every season in football — and not just at home. Under the proposal, the Tar Heels and Wolfpack would’ve been required to complete a home-and-away series with all three over a six-year span.

North Carolina and Appalachian State recently completed a compelling 2-for-1 series where the Tar Heels hosted the Mountaineers in 2019 and 2023 while playing at Appalachian State in 2022. All three games were close, with the Tar Heels winning two of the three.

However, Appalachian State is not currently part of any of North Carolina’s future schedules. UNC is scheduled to host Charlotte in Week 2 this season and scheduled to play at Charlotte in 2025. But the Tar Heels do not have games set with any of the three in-state teams covered by the bill beyond 2025, per FBSchedules.com.

The only in-state opponent that is part of NC State’s 2024 nonconference slate is Western Carolina of the Football Championship Subdivision. The Wolfpack are scheduled to host ECU in 2025 and Appalachian State in 2026. They are set to play at ECU in 2028 and also have home-and-home series set with Charlotte for 2030 and 2031.

The legislation cited the General Assembly’s desire to “promote economic development” as part of its rationale. It would have also required North Carolina and NC State to play each other at least once per season in men’s and women’s basketball and football. While that currently happens by default since both schools are members of the ACC, the legislation was aimed at protecting against a scenario in which conference realignment interrupted the series between the two longtime league foes.

Even considering Appalachian State’s standing as an FCS team until 2013, the Mountaineers and North Carolina surprisingly have played just four times; before the recent 2-for-1, the only prior contest occurred in 1940. NC State has beaten Appalachian State in all six contests. 

Series vs. East Carolina are more common for the Tobacco Road teams. NC State is 19-13 all-time against the Pirates; North Carolina is 11-5. 

Charlotte, which relaunched its program in 2013, has never played North Carolina or NC State. 

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