The National College Athletics Association has stated they will not host championship events in state that discriminate agianst a range of classes including sexual orientation and gender identity.
“The higher education community is a diverse mix of people from different racial, ethnic, religious and sexual orientation backgrounds,” said Kirk Schulz, president of Kansas State University and chair of the Board of Governors for the NCAA, in a statement released in a video today. “So it is important that we assure that community – including our student-athletes and fans – will always enjoy the experience of competing and watching at NCAA championships without concerns of discrimination.”
The resolution passed this week was in response at “religious freedom” laws which critics believe target LGBTQ individuals and often allow private businesses to deny services to LGBTQ individuals because of their “deeply held religious beliefs.”
The policy will require inclusion “race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity” and aims to encourage “well-being of student-athletes, promoting diversity in hiring practices and creating a culture of fairness. ”
Basketball has long been held in high regard in North Carolina where teams like the Tar Heels and Duke have a long history of participating and winning in the NCAA championships, though the passage of HB2 could put future hosting rights in jeopardy.
“Board members feel the measure will provide assurance that anyone associated with an NCAA championship event – whether they are working, playing or cheering – will be treated with fairness and respect,” read the release.
“The NCAA has sent a very clear message that unfair and unjust discrimination against LGBT people will not be tolerated by the association, and we hope lawmakers are listening,” said HRC President Chad Griffin in a release sent out after the NCAA announcement. “In order for cities to even qualify to host these major sporting events, they must now have commonsense, LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections. We commend the NCAA Board of Governors for taking this critically important stand in favor of fairness and equality.”
The new policy will effect states like North Carolina (over HB2) as well as Mississippi as both states continue to face public outcry over laws that would allow private businesses to deny services to LGBTQ individuals, as well as force transgender people into restrooms that don’t align with their gender identity.