NCAA Unveils New Plans to Prioritize Non-Discrimination in Bids for Host Cities

By Adam Polaski • April 28, 2016 • 1:03 pm

This week at their quarterly meeting in Indianapolis, the Board of Governors of the NCAA voted on a new rule requiring cities wishing to host or bid on NCAA events to demonstrate how they will “provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination.” The requirement affects events in every division, ranging from lucrative Final Four events for Mens’ and Women’s tournaments to educational events.

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association said in a statement today:

The board’s decision reaffirms the NCAA commitment to operate championships and events that promote an inclusive atmosphere in which student-athletes participate, coaches and administrators lead and fans engage.  … The Association considers the promotion of inclusiveness in race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity as a vital element to protecting the well-being of student-athletes, promoting diversity in hiring practices and creating a culture of fairness.

The move comes as the NBA ramps up pressure on North Carolina lawmakers to repeal the discriminatory, anti-transgender HB 2 or lose the 2017 All-Star Game, currently scheduled to take place in Charlotte.

Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe said today:

“The NCAA’s decision to directly call for nondiscrimination measures in their bid processes sends a clear message that anti-LGBT laws or bills, like HB 2 in North Carolina, won’t be tolerated. We’ve seen repercussions from HB 2 spread like wildfire through the business, sporting and entertainment communities because leaders in these industries see these bills for exactly what they are: discriminatory measures meant to harm LGBT people. The NCAA’s move is the right one, and will serve as yet another reminder to lawmakers that bills like HB 2 will have immediate consequences on a state’s economy.”

The announcement follows weeks of movement and steps forward from the NCAA. Last November the NCAA announced that it could reconsider host cities for future events based on non-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals, and in December the National Office of the NCAA joined Indiana Competes, a coalition of hundreds of businesses calling for comprehensive LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections. In March, the association specifically called out Missouri’s SJR-39, which would allow anyone to cite religious beliefs as an excuse to deny services to LGBT people. And now, the NCAA has gone the extra mile to affirm that cities must implement full LGBT non-discrimination protections as a condition for hosting events like the Final Four.

Freedom for All Americans applauds the NCAA’s decision this week. This principled stand to ensuring student athletes, employees, and fans are protected from discrimination is an important step forward – one that should serve as a model for other businesses operating in the United States.

 


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