The NCAA issued a tough statement yesterday in opposition to state laws banning participation by transgender women in women’s sports.
The position seems likely to threaten the hopes of the University of Arkansas to host regional NCAA tournaments in both baseball and softball (played by women). Most of the angry reaction among Hog fans has been about men’s baseball, where the Razorbacks are national champion contenders. But Arkansas’s legislature has enacted one ban on transgender women, with another nearing completion, along with a host of other bills targeting transgender men and women, including allowing school staff not to be punished for refusing to refer to such students by their gender.
The key part of the NCAA statement:
The NCAA has a long-standing policy that provides a more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports. Our approach — which requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports — embraces the evolving science on this issue and is anchored in participation policies of both the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport. Our clear expectation as the Association’s top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to ensuring that NCAA championships are open for all who earn the right to compete in them.
When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected. We will continue to closely monitor these situations to determine whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants.
Men’s basketball coach Eric Musselman got a hero’s welcome on a visit to the legislature yesterday, but none of the coverage indicates he had anything to say about THEIR season, particularly this harmful legislation that could cause reprisals for all sports in time.
Evin Demirel has thorough coverage on the developing controversy at Best of Arkansas Sports, including a reaction from Governor Hutchinson.
#Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson admonishes NCAA over transgender statement that could affect Razorback athletics https://t.co/S7pL3XCYqB pic.twitter.com/qantdgxMSv
— Evin Demirel (@evindemirel) April 13, 2021
Demirel notes that Rebel flag-honoring state flags and a North Carolina bathroom bill caused previous NCAA reactions. The Rebel flags are now gone from state flags, except — as in Arkansas’s case — through the symbolism of flag elements.
Hutchinson’s statement to Demirel:
“It is disappointing to see the NCAA take this punitive approach. Sports does not need to disenfranchise a state just because it passes a law that the NCAA finds objectionable. As time goes on, I expect the NCAA to relax its position because there are already multiple states that have adopted a similar law as we have in Arkansas.”
By this reasoning, if Arkansas joined other Southern states in again segregating public schools (which IS being encouraged by state law now), that would be no reason for the NCAA to “disenfranchise” Arkansas.
Again: A sham “hate crimes” bill, passed without support from those who most often feel the lash of discrimination and passed only by a dishonest committee process, is not likely to lift Arkansas. Those who decide where to invest money, build high-tech businesses or locate sporting events have eyes to see. Legalized discrimination against: LGBT people, women, classes of voters and politically incorrect speech (as defined by the Republican legislature.)
One other irony: The critics who cry “cancel culture” while telling the NCAA, Facebook, Twitter and other private enterprises how to run their businesses.
Does the UA, where the chancellor meekly endorsed diversity the other day, really intend to proceed with holding an NCAA SOFTBALL tournament, where the attorney general seeks to be empowered to get a court injunction to stop it should it be learned that one of the competitors is transgender?
Note this NCAA rule also could apply to more than UA, which has other NCAA events in other sports in the pipeline. It also could affect events like the women’s basketball tournament once held in Simmons Bank Arena.