Metro Weekly

NCAA’s Emmert not budging on LGBTQ criteria for host cities

NCAA president promises local LGBTQ laws will be factor in whether cities get to host championship events

Mark Emmert – Photo: NCAA, via ncaa.org.

The NCAA will continue to analyse the LGBTQ-friendliness of potential host cities for future sporting events, the organization has confirmed.

It comes a day after LGBTQ advocates wrote to urge the NCAA to continue taking the presence of pro- or anti-LGBTQ laws into consideration when selecting cities — and affirms the collegiate sports association’s commitment to equality.

“The Board and I remain committed to maintaining a college sports experience that is inclusive and fair for all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” Mark Emmert, the president of the NCAA. “As the next round of site selections is underway, this commitment has not changed.

“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,” Emmert added. “We expect that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect at our NCAA championships and events. We will continue to monitor the situation throughout the country as bids are reviewed.”

The NCAA’s move comes as it’s receiving pressure from social conservatives to back away from its earlier positions.

One North Carolina lawmaker has even filed a bill to investigate the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference to see if they should be stripped of their tax-exempt status. That move came after both collegiate sports associations relocated all 2016-2017 championship sporting events scheduled to take place in North Carolina to other cities and states.

“The NCAA has made it clear they won’t abide by discrimination against their athletes, fans, or employees,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, which worked with Athlete Ally to organize the letter to the NCAA. “With anti-LGBTQ bills advancing in dozens of states, lawmakers from North Carolina to Texas to South Dakota will know that discrimination has consequences. We are proud to have an ally like NCAA President Mark Emmert, who is doing what’s right to help ensure LGBTQ people and their families are protected.”

“By committing to provide an environment that is free from discrimination for their LGBTQ attendees and participants, the NCAA is positively impacting every city and state seeking to host a championship or event,” Hudson Taylor, founder and executive director of Athlete Ally, said in a statement. “We commend the NCAA for continuing to ensure that discrimination has no place in sports or under the law.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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