The NCAA Board of Governors on Wednesday said it took steps to “protect participants and spectators from discrimination” at NCAA events.
At its quarterly meeting in Indianapolis, the board adopted a new requirement for cities and states 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.
The new rules require sites 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 said in a release.
“The higher education community is a diverse mix of people from different racial, ethnic, religious and sexual orientation backgrounds,” said Kirk Schulz, president of Kansas State University and chair of the Board of Governors. “So it is important that we assure that community – including our student-athletes and fans – will always enjoy the experience of competing and watching at NCAA championships without concerns of discrimination.”
The new requirement integrates appropriate protections against discrimination into the championships bidding process. Board members feel the measure will provide assurance that anyone associated with an NCAA championship event – whether they are working, playing or cheering – will be treated with fairness and respect.
The board said its decision was partly a response to 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.”