On Wednesday, the NCAA released a statement providing that all championship bids will now have to pass an anti-discrimination process. The release comes amid a national discussion regarding several anti-discrimination laws either proposed or passed in several states.
The release provides in pertinent part:
At its quarterly meeting in Indianapolis, the board adopted a new requirement for sites hosting or bidding on NCAA events in all divisions — from the Men's and Women's Final Fours to educational events such as leadership development conferences — to demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event.
The NCAA also noted its specific incentive for taking this stance:
The board's decision follows the recent actions of legislatures in several states, which have passed laws allowing residents to refuse to provide services to some people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. While proponents of the laws focus on how they protect religious beliefs, critics have voiced concerns that they create an environment of sanctioned discrimination.
Obviously, this announcement is important for a multitude of reasons. To start, it represents a clear statement from the NCAA that it will take action to prevent these types of legislation from passing in specific states. Whether that actually influences change remains to be seen, but it is a statement.
Additionally, this also means that certain states like North Carolina may no longer be allowed to host NCAA Tournament games or other major NCAA events. This could be a big blow to schools like Charlotte, Davidson, East Carolina, and High Point among others as they attempt to reach the postseason.
As this story continues to play out, Mid Major Madness will continue to post updates.