NCAA considering tournaments in Tennessee and other states with anti-LGBTQ+ laws

Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) named Tennessee and two other states that passed transgender athletic bans as potential places to host postseason college baseball.

Vanderbilt and Tennessee are listed among 20 universities that could hold regional games. But the news from the NCAA seems to be a change from a statement released by the Board of Governors last month, condemning transgender discrimination.

Governor Bill Lee on Friday took more action on bills that target transgender individuals.

“I think it matters what the citizens thinks, and at the end of the day, the people of Tennessee through their elected officials decide what the law is,” Gov. Lee said.

Gov. Lee signed a bill prohibiting transgender students and staff in public schools from using bathrooms that don’t align with their sex at birth. The governor is still considering another bathroom bill that would require businesses to post a signage outside of any bathroom considered “inclusive.”

“I think it really matters what our business community thinks, I think it matters what organizations think,” Gov. Lee said.

Beyond a statement released in April saying NCAA championship events will be awarded to places “providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination,” the NCAA has not responded to our questions about whether super-regional tournaments will still be held in states like Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

All of these states have passed laws targeting transgender individuals.

“Just know that the real character of this state is not evidenced or reflected in the legislation that a very small amount of people are passing,” Nashville Democratic Representative John Ray Clemmons said.

Tennessee may be able to retain the championship series due to the NCAA pre-determining locations.

“So, these sites were apparently selected before the legislation passed this year so it’s a unique circumstance, but it raises another issue whereas whether or not organizations and businesses that talk a big game about equality and inclusion are going to follow what they say,” Rep. Clemmons said.

Gov. Lee also signed a bill allowing parents to opt their children out of LGBTQ+ curriculum. He’s also still considering signing another bill that would restrict transgender medical services to minors who have not reached puberty.

Neither Vanderbilt nor Tennessee issued a statement in response to questions from News 2. University of Tennessee softball is currently hosting a regional tournament.

Alabama and Arkansas are also hosting softball postseason play despite the governors of those states signing transgender athletic bans.

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