Elizabeth City State University ‘Grateful’ For NC Sports Betting Tax Revenue

Elizabeth City State University, one of five North Carolina Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) set to receive sports betting tax revenue under the state’s new law, told NCSharp the influx of money will contribute to the school’s “continued growth.”

Elizabeth City State University, one of five North Carolina Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to provisionally receive $300,000 annually, and possibly more, under the state’s new sports betting law, told NCSharp the revenue influx will contribute to the school’s “continued growth.”

Under House Bill 347, the five HBCU collegiate athletic programs receiving sports betting tax revenue are:

  • ECSU;
  • Fayetteville State University;
  • North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University;
  • North Carolina Central University; and
  • Winston-Salem State University.

Like many institutions impacted by the launch of North Carolina online sports betting, ECSU has not ironed out many of the details about how it plans to use the funds.

Sports betting funds ‘game-changing’ for ECSU athletics

ECSU is a Division II college affiliated with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. It offers men’s and women’s sports in nine disciplines:

  • Basketball (M/W)
  • Cross country (M/W)
  • Football (M)
  • Golf (M)
  • Bowling (W)
  • Cheerleading (W)
  • Softball (W)
  • Tennis (W)
  • Volleyball (W)

In 2022, the ECSU women’s basketball team made it to the CIAA conference finals, losing 67-52 to Lincoln University. That same year, the women’s volleyball team was CIAA conference champions.

ECSU Athletic Director James DuBose expressed his gratitude for the sports betting revenue allocation in an email to NCSharp.

“We are truly grateful for the legislators and all of the work that they have done to assist our university and all HBCUs with their continued growth,” DuBose said. “These funds will definitely be game-changing for our institutions. We have not yet determined how the funds will be utilized, but we do know that with the current needs, they will be extremely beneficial overall to support the athletic department and most importantly, our student-athletes.”

ECSU is well behind NC D1 schools in sports-based aid

While the law gives no specifics as to how HBCUs are to spend this new revenue on athletics, student-athlete financial aid data provides some clarity on how valuable the money could be to ECSU.

CollegeFactual, an online portal that aids prospective students in choosing colleges, cites that 195 ECSU student-athletes receive, on average, $1,873 in sports-related student aid. “On average, the school gave males around $1,410 of sports aid and women received about $2,842.”

By comparison, NC State, an NCAA Division I school, has 560 student-athletes receiving, on average, $22,562 in sports-related student aid to attend the school.

While the in-state cost to attend NC State ($6,500 per semester) is just over six times more than ECSU ($1,000 per semester), NCSU student-athletes earn nearly 12 times more than the average ECSU student-athlete in sports-based financial aid.

Schools could earn well more than $300K from sports betting revenue

HB 347 specifies that the 13 North Carolina universities slotted to receive sports betting revenue will receive $300,000 annually and 20% of any remaining proceeds “to be distributed equally among the institutions listed.”

A fiscal note on the bill estimated ECSU and the 12 other universities could receive as much as $1.2 million in school funding in fiscal year 2024-25 and $1.7 million by FY2026-27.

It should be noted “if there are not sufficient funds for each of these institutions to receive an appropriation of three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000), the amount of each appropriation shall be reduced by the same proportion so that all institutions receive an appropriation of the same amount.”

While there is a possibility ECSU and other schools may earn less than $300,000, the revenue estimates provided by state fiscal advisers indicate this is highly unlikely. Indeed, ECSU and other schools may receive a financial windfall if North Carolina sports betting hits the ground running.

More clarity in the coming months

Most of the HBCUs receiving sports betting revenue told NCSharp they had not addressed the matter yet. As the North Carolina Lottery Commission, the regulator of the new industry, has only hired a sports betting director and not begun sports betting-related meetings, most stakeholders in the new industry are in a holding pattern.

Rashid Mohamed, a writer for NCSharp, contributed to this report.


Image Credit: Julio Cortez / AP Images

About the Author

Tyler Andrews

Tyler is the Managing Editor for NCSharp.com, covering sports, sports law, and gambling for the Tar Heel State. He has also covered similar topics for PlayTexas, PlayGeorgia, PlayCA, PlayFlorida, PlayOhio, and PlayMA. Tyler’s current focus is North Carolina’s pathway to gaming legalization.