CHAPEL HILL — Some UNC-Chapel Hill boosters think they have found a surefire way to return the Tar Heel men’s basketball team to dominance among its Triangle competitors. They’re urging boosters in other Atlantic Coast Conference states to push for laws resembling the recently repealed House Bill 2, Carolina Journal has learned.
“Want to beat Duke? Have we got a great strategy for you,” reads a letter CJ obtained from an undisclosed source. “One of our state’s largest newspapers just told us that Coach K and his dreaded Blue Devils lost their NCAA tournament game because of House Bill 2. It must be true. It was in the paper!”
The anonymous letter, written on letterhead from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Rams Club booster group, goes on to explain the history of H.B. 2. The law, passed in March 2016, prohibits local governments from passing anti-discrimination ordinances that deviate from new statewide standards set by the N.C. General Assembly. It effectively invalidated a Charlotte ordinance allowing transgender people to use bathrooms, showers, and changing rooms of the gender with which they identify.
H.B. 2 has been entangled in litigation since its passage. The NBA pulled its All-Star Game from Charlotte because of H.B. 2. Some entertainers have refused to perform in North Carolina during the past year, citing the law.
But a March 21 editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer went so far as to suggest that H.B. 2 cost Duke University and Coach Mike Krzyzewski a chance to advance to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16. Duke lost its second-round game to South Carolina, 88-81.
The game was played in Greenville, S.C., rather than its originally scheduled location of Greensboro. The NCAA moved the game out of North Carolina because of concerns about the impact of H.B. 2.
The law was repealed in late March. The NCAA quickly placed North Carolina back on its list of potential host sites for championship events. The ACC also said it would hold neutral-site championships in the Tar Heel State, and the NBA has suggested the 2019 All-Star Game may be played in the Queen City. But that hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of Rams Club members who think the bad mojo from H.B. 2 could continue plaguing Duke basketball.
“We never realized that a law passed in Raleigh could stop Duke’s players from making jump shots or playing defense,” according to the Rams Club letter. “But how else can you explain South Carolina scoring 65 points in the second half against the Dookies? Those ACC-leaving bozos didn’t score 65 points in 10 games this year!”
The letter urges booster clubs to contact their favorite legislators in other ACC states: Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia. “If you want your teams to get an edge against that wily Coach K and his team, tell your legislators to start drafting their own versions of H.B. 2.,” according to the letter. “You won’t regret it. We promise.”
An attachment features draft language that resembles H.B. 2. A separate attachment features a clipping of the N&O editorial.
The Rams Club letter stands in contrast to UNC-Chapel Hill men’s basketball coach Roy Williams’ comments about H.B. 2. Williams has called the bill “stupid” and supported efforts to repeal the measure.
The source who provided the letter to CJ by email also shared concerns. Labeling himself only as a “longtime Rams Club member,” he included the following comments along with the document: “I’m not sure which is worse: that these chuckleheads actually think this would work, or that they believe anything they read on the N&O’s editorial page. It’s almost as if they’re trying to write a parody.”
Requests for comment from the Rams Club or the UNC-Chapel Hill athletics department were not answered.
Parting Shot is a parody loosely based on items in the news. This parody appeared in the April 2017 print edition of Carolina Journal.