Credo Action

The NCAA and Texas’s discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws

Sign the petition

Tell the National Collegiate Athletic Association:

“An organization responsible for the welfare of the nation’s college student-athletes should not host or participate in events in any state that officially sanctions discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Pledge not to host any NCAA tournament events in Texas or any state that passes discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws.”

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    The NCAA and Texas’s discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws

    Even bigotry is bigger in Texas.

    Texas lawmakers have already introduced nine anti-LGBTQ bills this year, including an anti-transgender “bathroom bill,” which would make it illegal for transgender people to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, and S.B. 651, one of the most extreme Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA) ever considered by a state.1

    We have seen this before. Last year North Carolina passed sweeping anti-LGBTQ regulations with H.B. 2, and more than 79,000 CREDO members took action. Our activism pressured the NCAA and the NBA to pull games from the state, costing North Carolina millions of dollars and showing extremist politicians that when LGBTQ communities are under attack, all of us fight back. Now is the time for these same organizations to show Texas lawmakers that they cannot discriminate against LGBTQ people in Texas with no recourse.

    Tell the NCAA: Pledge not to host any NCAA tournament games in Texas or any other state that passes discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws.

    Experts have called the proposed Texas RFRA “breathtaking” in its potential scope. It would allow legal professionals in over 65 licensed occupations to withhold services from LGBTQ and other communities on the basis of “religious freedom.” It would release teachers from their obligation to intervene if an LGBTQ child was being bullied or harassed, permit realtors to refuse to help same-sex couples purchase houses and even allow doctors, EMTs and health care professionals to withhold lifesaving care from LGBTQ patients on account of their gender identity or sexual orientation.2

    The NCAA has two women’s Final Four championship events scheduled to be held in Texas on March 31 and April 2. The men’s Final Four is scheduled for San Antonio in 2018, and other games are held annually in Frisco. Texas has a lot at stake here, and the knowledge that the NCAA will stand with the LGBTQ community wherever they are under attack could make right-wing Texas lawmakers consider the huge financial and societal risks of pushing their discriminatory and hateful agenda.

    Tell the NCAA: Pledge not to host any NCAA tournament games in Texas or any other state that passes discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws.

    The NCAA has taken stands against bigotry and discrimination in the past. In addition to pulling games out of North Carolina in response to H.B. 2 last year, the NCAA was one of the first organizations to speak out against a similar law in Indiana in 2015. Pressure from the NCAA and other business, civic and sports leaders eventually forced the state to amend the law.3

    In 2001, the NCAA banned championship events in South Carolina and Mississippi because the Confederate battle flags flying at the state capitols were misaligned with the values of the organization. And in 2005, the NCAA banned schools from hosting championship events if they have hostile or abusive mascots, most notably Native American caricatures.4

    That being said, the NCAA still has a mixed record on its commitment to LGBTQ equality. It has consistently held and scheduled events in Texas and other states that have pushed or passed proactive anti-LGBTQ legislation. Additionally, numerous NCAA member schools have applied for and been granted Title IX exemptions, giving them the right to restrict access to bathrooms, housing and sports based on gender identity.5

    Over 20 states across the country have already passed RFRAs. That means that in close to half of the United States, individuals and businesses can discriminate against the LGBTQ community under the false narrative of religious freedom. To protect the nearly half a million student-athletes nationwide, the NCAA should pull its games out of any state in which LGBTQ people are not safe.

    Pledging not to host any tournament games in Texas if the state passes discriminatory laws is a crucial first step that will send a powerful message to other states with RFRAs. Tell the NCAA to pledge not to host any tournament games in Texas or any other state that passes discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws.

    Thank you for all that you do.

    References:
    1. Nico Lang, “The new 'license to discriminate' bill in Texas may be the most extreme anti-LGBT proposal yet,” Salon, Feb. 15, 2017.
    2. Ibid
    3. Bryce Covert, “The Backlash Against North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Law Is Growing,” Think Progress, Mar. 26, 2016.
    4. Ibid
    5. Katie Barnes, “While the NCAA disapproves of North Carolina, it perpetuates LGBTQ discrimination elsewhere,” ESPN, Sep. 13, 2016.