RALEIGH, N.C. — On Tuesday evening, North Carolina Republicans unveiled their 2022-23 state budget proposal. Among the $27.9 billion total, $15 million would go toward a deal to put a "collegiate sports employer" in North Carolina for the next 15 years.
Democratic state senator Michael Garrett, who represents Guilford County, confirmed the "employer" the bill refers to is the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The item in the bill specifically states, "the entity will locate and occupy within the State its headquarters facility for a continuous period of at least 15 years".
Senator Garrett says that location within the state will be in Charlotte.
If the proposed budget passes, the ACC will leave Greensboro, its home for 70 years, and set up shop in Charlotte, taking about 50 jobs along with it.
"The ACC has done a great job fleecing the taxpayers of North Carolina tonight," Garrett told WFMY News 2, "I think it's a bad look for the ACC personally."
Republican state house representative Jon Hardister, who represents Guilford County, said the deal was intended to keep the ACC in North Carolina and discourage them from moving to Florida.
"They chose to stay in Charlotte," Hardister wrote, "That is not my preference, but it is obviously better than them leaving the state altogether."
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan declined to comment on the deal, saying she would wait to hear from the ACC commissioner directly.
The Atlantic Coast Conference told WFMY News 2 that conversations about the location of headquarters are ongoing. A spokesperson said the 15-member board of directors has not yet made a final decision, and there is no time frame for them to make a decision.
The deal mentioned in the state budget proposal also requires the ACC to host several postseason championship tournaments in North Carolina by the end of the 2032-33 academic year.
In that time, the ACC must host at least four men's basketball postseason championship tournaments. Two of them must be held in Greensboro.
Additionally, the ACC must host at least four women's basketball, four men's baseball and 20 other sports' postseason championship tournaments in North Carolina by the end of the 2032-33 academic year. This is in addition to any tournaments already scheduled to be held in the state.
Money for the $15 million deal would come from the state's Economic Development Project Reserve.
Though Greensboro would lose about 50 jobs if the deal goes through, Senator Garrett said he isn't worried about Greensboro's broader future.
The proposed budget bill must pass both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly. Then it will be up to Governor Roy Cooper to sign it. Amendments and changes are still possible as the bill works its way through the legislature.
This is a developing story. WFMY News 2 will share any updates when those details can be confirmed.