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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina residents could avoid calling in sick to work or staying home from school to watch one day of the men's and women's Atlantic Coast Conference basketball tournaments under a bill proposed Tuesday.

Democratic Sens. Sarah Crawford of Franklin County, Natalie Murdock of Durham County and DeAndrea Salvador of Mecklenburg County co-authored the legislation, which would designate the Fridays of the men's and women's ACC Tournaments as a state holiday, adding to the 19 state holidays already on the North Carolina calendar.

None of the three responded immediately to emails from The Associated Press seeking comment on Tuesday, but Murdock told WNCN in Raleigh that North Carolina is just the place for the bill to be enacted.

“This is ACC country, ACC territory," she said. “(I’m) born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina. So the ACC is literally a holiday for us already. So we might as well formalize that into an official state holiday.”

There was a time that the state’s collective attention was distracted from its routines to focus on the tournament, especially the schools known as The Big Four — North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke and Wake Forest. Transistor radios pressed up to ears instead of listening to teachers would transition to teachers bringing televisions into classrooms as a concession. But times have changed.

In 1982, the ACC men’s tournament went to a Friday-through-Sunday format, which involved four games being played on the first day. The last time four games were played on Friday was in 2015.

League expansion would lengthen the tournaments. Both the men’s and women’s tournaments last month, held in Greensboro, went five days.

If passed, the bill wouldn't be the first time legislation allowed North Carolinians to have a state holiday to enjoy sports.

In 1935, lawmakers gave in to demands from state employees who wanted to attend the Easter Monday baseball game between Wake Forest and N.C. State, which at the time were both in Wake County, according to a story on the Wake Forest athletics' webpage. Some historians have disputed that the baseball game prompted the legislation.

“That game was one of the biggest athletic events in the state,” Secretary of State Thad Eure, then clerk of the N.C. House, said in the Wake Forest account. “It was like college football and basketball are today. The railroads even ran excursion trains to Raleigh.”

In 1988, North Carolina began observing Good Friday as the statewide holiday, replacing Easter Monday.

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