Category Archives: Political Wankery

Unsaid threats are the best threats.

The SEC ain’t happy about the state of Arkansas preparing to allow guns at college sporting events.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey that the measure signed into law last week by Gov. Asa Hutchinson creates concerns for the conference and its member institutions. The new law allows people with concealed handgun licenses to carry on college campuses, government buildings and some bars if they undergo up to eight hours of active shooter training.

The University of Arkansas is an SEC school, and Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium holds 72,000 people.

“Given the intense atmosphere surrounding athletic events, adding weapons increases safety concerns and could negatively impact the intercollegiate athletics program at the University of Arkansas in several ways, including scheduling, officiating, recruiting and attendance,” Sankey said in a statement. A spokesman for the conference declined to answer whether the new law would threaten future SEC games in Arkansas.

Why answer, when the question itself speaks volumes?

Thus beginneth the backtracking.

An Arkansas House committee advanced a measure Tuesday to exempt college sporting events from a state law allowing guns after the Southeastern Conference appealed for guns to be banned from facilities such as football stadiums.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the new state law last week allowing concealed handguns at colleges, government buildings, some bars and even the State Capitol.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced the exemption measure after it was amended. Under the amended exemption, college stadiums such as the University of Arkansas’ Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences would be able to designate sensitive areas where they wouldn’t want people to carry concealed handguns. To prohibit concealed carry in those sensitive areas, they would have to put together a security plan for those areas and submit it to Arkansas State Police for approval.

Republican Rep. Bob Ballinger told the panel that the changes to the proposed exemption measure were made to address concerns people had with the original bill.

“We took ten steps forward, and a lot of people weren’t quite ready to go that far forward. So now we’re taking one step backward,” Ballinger said.

Ballinger said that if college sporting events and the medical facilities were going to prohibit concealed carry, then they must demonstrate that they will provide the necessary security.

The National Rifle Association, which supported the expanded concealed handguns law, opposes the exemption measure in its current and previous form.

The SEC vs. the NRA?  Boy, talk about your meteor game there.  I guess we’re about to find out whether football or guns hold more weight in the South, although I suspect those handsome checks the conference sends Fayetteville’s way every year may have an impact on the deliberations, too.

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Filed under Political Wankery, SEC Football

One state’s bathroom controversy is another state’s opportunity

GTP reader ApalachDawg alerted me to what I guess is technically a non-football story about fallout from North Carolina’s notorious bathroom bill, but is nevertheless worth a mention for the punchline.

The law, introduced in North Carolina last year, mandates that transgender people use the bathrooms matching the biological sex on their birth certificates.

Its introduction last April sparked a wave of controversy and prompted Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr to cancel concerts.

It emerged yesterday that the law could cost the state over $3.7bn in lost business over the next 12 years, with PayPal, CoStar, Deutsche Bank, Adidas and Irish outsourcing giant Voxpro among the major companies to axe investment plans because of the law.

Speaking from New York last night, Voxpro’s Dan Kiely said North Carolina was one of three states earmarked for a new Voxpro office last year.

“But when it became clear that this law was being introduced, we just scratched North Carolina off our list. We didn’t even visit the site.

“The law runs completely contrary to our core values. I am proud to work alongside trans and gay people. The diversity of our workforce is what makes us who we are.

“Our investment instead went to Athens, Georgia, where we hope to reach 500 jobs within the next 12 months.”[Emphasis added.]

Welcome to Athens, folks.  Hopefully you won’t have a problem with the local bathroom issues we’re struggling with.

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Playing the ponies

You may have thought that North Carolina, being in the South and the ACC, would be a place where football and basketball were placed about all other sporting events, but according to one of its leading politicians, such is not the case.

HB2 supporters say its costs have been tiny compared with an economy estimated at more than $500 billion a year, roughly the size of Sweden’s. They say they’re willing to absorb those costs if the law prevents sexual predators posing as transgender people from entering private spaces to molest women and girls — acts the law’s detractors say are imagined.

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, one of the strongest supporters, accused news organizations of creating a false picture of economic upheaval. A global equestrian competition that’s coming to North Carolina in 2018 despite HB2 is projected to have an economic impact bigger than the sporting events that have canceled, Forest said. The Swiss-based group behind the event estimated its spending poured about $250 million into the French region of Normandy the last time it was held — 2014. The organization said the figure came from a study by consulting and accounting firm Deloitte, but the Federation Equestre Internationale declined to release the report.  [Emphasis added.]

Take that, NCAA and ACC, if you dare.  No doubt an unpublished report is about as authoritative as it gets these days.

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Filed under ACC Football, Political Wankery, The NCAA

Clear baggin’ and tea baggin’, just another day in Gawd’s Conference

uga-clear-bag-policy

Judging from the emails I’ve received and the comments I’ve seen splashed across the Intertubes, I gather plenty of you have heard the news already about the latest policy change to affect game attendance at Sanford Stadium.

Beginning with the G-Day spring football game, Georgia will implement the SEC’s clear bag policy for athletic events on campus.

The policy will be in effect for all ticketed events beginning in the 2017-18 athletic calendar year.

Bags or purses carrying personal belongings must be clear if patrons are to enter into ticketed events hosted by Sanford Stadium, Stegeman Coliseum or Foley Field. The SEC cites public safety and security measures for the league policy.

Hey, you know if there were valid reasons to criticize Butts-Mehre for enacting fan unfriendly rules, I’d be right there with them, but as Butt indicates in his article, that would be pointing the finger at the wrong Greg.  The culprit would be this guy.

In the interest of enhancing existing security measures at games involving Southeastern Conference schools, the SEC will implement a new security policy regulating the size and type of bag that may be carried into all stadiums in which SEC schools host games, beginning with the 2017 football season, it was announced Wednesday.

Although the new conference-wide bag policy will be in effect beginning with the 2017 football season, a number of SEC institutions implemented the policy during the 2016 football season. The policy was approved by a unanimous vote of the league’s athletics directors.

“SEC football stadiums are among the largest venues in the world of sports, so safety and security are issues that must always remain a priority for our events,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “We believe this policy is an important enhancement to the security measures already put in place by our institutions.”

Fans are encouraged not to bring any types of bags inside SEC stadiums during football games…

That’s nice.  Although with all this talk about enhancing security measures and prioritizing safety, I can’t help but wonder what ol’ Greggy thinks about what just came down in the great state of Arkansas  — literally on the same day as his shiny new policy.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has signed a bill regarding a person’s ability to carry a concealed handgun into various buildings at a public university or college into state law. However, House Bill 1249 will not allow all legal gun owners to carry a gun to a football game in the state of Arkansas.

Football games will be considered a “sensitive area,” which require enhanced training in order to be allowed to carry a gun into a football stadium. The law supposedly trumps any provisions already in place to prevent guns from being allowed on the premises.

“The enhanced level of training is very important, and I am convinced the public will be more safe,” Governor Hutchinson said. “This bill, in my view, reflects the view of the general assembly.”

Shit, I feel safer already.  I can’t wait to find out about what kind of enhanced training you can get to learn how to pack heat responsibly in a crowded, emotional, alcohol-laden environment.  (Do you have to carry your gun in a clear plastic bag?)  I mean, imagine how much more sensibly a moment like this would have evolved with a gun or two in its midst.

That’s a relief.  We’ve been plagued with so many of those rascals at college football games lately.

Back on earth, you have to wonder how this is going to sit with Sankey.  He may be getting handed his very own bathroom bill problem.

The University of Arkansas, nor the SEC or NCAA, have yet to comment on the law. One source closely connected to the bidding for SEC and NCAA championship events told GN the law will be “a popular topic at the SEC spring meetings” scheduled for late May in Destin, Florida.

Presently, neither the SEC nor NCAA expressly prohibits games from being played at venues where the carrying of concealed weapons is allowed, though it also hadn’t needed to be addressed previously because of laws against it.

According to NCAA’s site selection process policy guide in effect from 2018-19 until 2012-22, however, it seems possible that the law could create an issue.

“The NCAA expects all hosts to have policies in place for crowd control, fan conduct, safety of all participants, and other appropriate guidelines that support the NCAA’s position on sportsmanship and its commitment to operating the finest athletics events in the world,” the document reads. “Each host will be required to submit a safety and security plan upon the awarding of an NCAA championship.”

I sense this is going to work out well.  In the meantime, leave those nice Georgia bags you’ve been using for years at home, peeps. It’s for the greater good.

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UPDATE:  Oh, well.

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Filed under Political Wankery, SEC Football

North Carolina, Mark Emmert says hi.

From the neighboring state of South Carolina, which is now back in the NCAA’s good graces after ditching the Confederate flag:

Without legislative action, then, North Carolina — a regular stop for the N.C.A.A. tournament — could be without games in the event for a minimum of six years.

“That’s up to the Legislature of North Carolina,” Emmert said. “They make their decision and other entities can respond to it. Whatever decision they want to make is between them and the citizens of North Carolina. I personally respect that enormously.

“The N.C.A.A. represents 1,100 universities and colleges; we reflect their views and their values. They happen to be different constituencies.”

Six years?  Look at the bright side, North Carolina.  At least you don’t have to rush into anything.

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Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

Flushing out the NCAA

A North Carolina legislator has had enough of organizations reacting to the state’s bathroom bill, by Gawd, and is ready to do something about it.

An N.C. House Republican says the NCAA and ACC have “stepped out of bounds” by moving sports championships out of North Carolina over House Bill 2.

Rep. Mark Brody, a Republican from Monroe, announced in a Facebook post Sunday that he’ll file a bill this week to address the boycotts.

Brody says his “Athletic Association Accountability Act” will “determine whether the NCAA and the ACC have violated their tax-exempt status by engaging in political or lobbying activities.”

“The NCAA and the ACC have allegedly engaged in excessive lobbying activities that exceeded their respective charters by using economic retaliation against NC for the purpose of forcing the General Assembly to adopt social legislation that is not connected to their core mission,” Brody wrote.

Tell us more, dude.

It’s unclear how Brody’s proposal would work, and his Facebook post offers no further details about his bill. According to the IRS website, nonprofit groups can’t have tax-exempt status “if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation.” The groups “may engage in some lobbying, but too much lobbying activity risks loss of tax-exempt status.”

Brody isn’t the first Republican politician to question whether the boycotts should be considered excessive lobbying under Internal Revenue Service standards.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson of Concord brought up the issue when the ACC announced its boycott last year. “This blatant political move – less than two months before the election – brings into question their tax-exempt status,” he said in a news release at the time. “This is an avenue we intend to explore.”

As long as they don’t have to go exploring down Constitution Boulevard, anyway.  I doubt he really cares about the “more” part, anyway.  It’ll make for some tasty red meat to throw the bathroom-obsesseds’ way and that’s what really counts for now.  In the meantime, Stacey Osburn has no comment.

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UPDATE:  The nerve of some people…  poor ol’ Pat.

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Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

“This is why people are frustrated with the federal government, right here.”

An alert reader put me onto this:  somebody in Gainesville got carried away with the local high school color scheme.

Gainesville is being threatened with the loss of federal transportation funding because of the color scheme used for the newly-erected street sign honoring Gainesville High School graduate DeShaun Watson.  And, that has Congressman Doug Collins of Gainesville and Mayor Danny Dunagan seeing, well, “red.”

According to a press release late Thursday afternoon from Collins, the federal Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration last week sent the Georgia Department of Transportation an email citing a code that “specifies the color of highway signs” and noted that Gainesville’s new sign is not in compliance with the code. The notice informed GDOT that a “failure to comply with the jeopardizes the future of federal funding” for the city.

The sign appears on DeShaun Watson Way, formerly Touchdown Drive, a side street leading to the high school and features white text on a red background in a nod to the Gainesville High school colors.

Never underestimate a politician's talent for making hay out of a minor bureaucratic matter, and you won't be disappointed.

“The DOT’s decision to respond to a small city’s celebratory act by threatening to withdraw its federal funding is an egregious example of abuse at the hands of federal bureaucrats. As many sections of our nation’s infrastructure are in disrepair, I am amazed that the DOT has prioritized targeting the entranceway of a local school,” Collins said.

"We're calling on them to fix this. My Deputy Chief of Staff has talked to them," Collins added.

...

Gainesville’s Mayor Danny Dunagan believes the DOT could have approached the issue more delicately.

“A nicer approach would have been to give our city 30 days’ notice to replace the sign before pursuing the nuclear option of federal defunding. Deshaun is a fine, upstanding member of our community and one of the greatest football players of our generation. Our intent was simply to honor him at the entry to our school,” explained Dunagan.

I suppose it was too much trouble to ask ahead of time for a waiver.

If Mark Richt and Mike Bobo hadn't ignored Watson until it was too late, this never would have happened, I tells 'ya.

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