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NCAA ‘concerned’ about new law in Indiana

March 26, 2015 /
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Thursday signed the controversial “religious freedom” bill into law, and the move could have consequences across the sports landscape.

Lucas Oil hosted the Super Bowl in 2012, but could the state's new law keep major sporting events out? | Photo: Caldwell317, Wikimedia Commons
Lucas Oil hosted the Super Bowl in 2012, but could the state’s new law keep major sporting events out? | Photo: Caldwell317, Wikimedia Commons

The NCAA released a brief statement this afternoon, expressing its concern over the law that many feel could lead to discrimination.

“The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in the statement. “We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees. We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week’s Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill. Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”

The NFL has not yet commented on its position, but on Friday the league did say it was reviewing the law to determine its implications. Jeff Rabjohns, a writer for Peegs.com, tweeted Friday that Indianapolis officials are concerned the Big Ten may consider pulling events from the state.

Indiana hosted Super Bowl XLIX, and the NFL declined to comment on whether an alternate site had been identified if the law passed. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the bill.

Indiana hosts the men’s Final Four next month, the NFL combine and just three years ago hosted the Super Bowl. Leagues across all sports have underscored their policies on tolerance and inclusiveness of all people, so any impression that the law has resulted in discrimination could conceivably prevent Indiana from receiving serious consideration for major events.

From the Indianapolis Star:

The measure, Senate Bill 101, could allow business owners to refuse services to same-sex couples and has set off a firestorm of controversy. Supporters say it’s needed to protect those with strong religious beliefs from government overreach, but opponents say it would allow discrimination, particularly against gays and lesbians.

Pence has been under intense pressure from opponents. In the past two days, two major Indianapolis conventions have threatened to look elsewhere if Pence signed the bill, and a group of technology executives, including the CEO of Salesforce, have written to the governor to oppose the measure.

 


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