The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced earlier this week they are launching a project to convince the NCAA to restrict sports championship events — such as March Madness tournament games — to liberal-leaning states. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Deformation (GLAAD), and Lambda Legal have all signed onto the initiative, which “urges” the NCAA to “reaffirm … previous commitments to nondiscrimination and inclusion by avoiding venues that are inherently unwelcoming and unsafe for LGBT people.”
And these demands don’t simply apply to particular venues. The letter also calls on the NCAA to avoid holding events in entire cities and states with laws that they claim sanction discrimination against the LGBT community, venues in cities or states whose transgender people from using the restroom of their choice, and venues at schools that request Title IX exemptions, including for religious reasons. Under such sanctions, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina would not be able to hold NCAA events during March Madness.
NCAA President Mark Emmert has since responded to HRC’s letter, saying that “the bidding process for hosting NCAA events now explicitly asks potential sites how they will provide an environment that is safe, respectful and free of discrimination at the events.” He added, “We expect that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect at our NCAA championships and events.”
The overreaching demands by HRC and its allies are only the latest example of the LGBT lobby trying to inflict politics into sports in order to promote their liberal agenda. Last March, for example, a coalition of 80 LGBT activist groups sent the NCAA a letter demanding that colleges which request a religious exemption from federal Title IX requirements be divested of their membership. This measure targeted Christian schools in particular, as it attempted to punish them for acting in accordance with their conscience. Fortunately, the NCAA in that case decided to punt on the issue. In September however, the NCAA did decide to move seven events from North Carolina due to the state’s transgender bathroom laws.
While the NCAA seems unlikely to give in to LGBT lobby’s latest far-reaching demands, at least for the present, the left’s continued attempts to politicize college athletics will undoubtedly alienate everyday Americans nationwide, who look to sports as one of the few escapes from the country’s toxic political climate. March Madness games should represent a battle between college’s best basketball teams, not a war between America’s political parties.
Photo credit: Phil Roeder via Flickr, CC BY 2.0