Despite multiple new Arkansas laws discriminating against transgender people, including two bans on transgender women’s participation in athletics, the NCAA said today that the University of Arkansas remains on the list for consideration to host regional softball tournaments.
The UA said the women’s softball stadium, Bogle Park, is one of 20 sites under consideration for 16 regional tournaments. Of those 16, eight will be chosen to be hosts for super-regional sites.
The list of 20 includes at least two other states, Alabama and Tennesse, that have passed laws banning transgender women from competing in their gender’s athletics. As yet, none of the states that have passed such laws have demonstrated an instance where a transgender woman WAS participating in athletics.
The NCAA has issued a statement saying it holds events at places that can “demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination.” The NCAA allows transgender participation, within guidelines relating to hormone treatment. Should a team bring a qualifying transgender athlete to Fayetteville, a new law allows the attorney general to sue to stop it. Unclear is what tests Arkansas plans to impose to ensure our law isn’t breached.
UA Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek is apparently untroubled by the new laws that legalize explicit discrimination.
Yurachek was quoted by Whole Hog Sports from an earlier interview:
“I think our baseball and softball programs have both earned the right to host regionals, and hopefully super regionals if we advance that far. We put a bid in for both,” Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek said during an interview on ESPN Arkansas on April 20. “I don’t foresee the statement that the NCAA made last week about the transgender laws in our state will impact our ability to host baseball and/or softball championships.
“I think it was a statement by the NCAA, but there was no action taken last week. It was just kind of put out there where they stood, what their thoughts were as an organization and as our governing body, and that they will continue to monitor the situation from state to state.”
If you’re into irony: Yurachek sees no reason the NCAA wouldn’t choose a state that had earlier passed a law preventing a Fayetteville civil rights ordinance. That ordinance was opposed with ugly transgender hysteria from the mother of a Springdale man, Josh Duggar, charged today with child pornography. And it wasn’t such a hot week for UA on the Title IX front given its need to apologize for paying off an accused sexual assailant without informing the victim.
I understand it’s too much to expect a UA official to call out legislative bigotry. But might there be one at least willing to distance himself from it? Apparently not in Talibansas.
If there are no consequences, the Darkansas Legislature will only increase its bullying of marginalized people.
What’s next? Will the UA stop teaching “divisive concepts” about race to placate Terrible Trent Garner? Maybe begin an elective course in creationism education to soothe the savage breast of Mary Bentley? Perhaps the public health department that counts raging Robin Lundstrum as an all could hold a both-sides seminar on masks and shots in the day of COVID-19.
Take down Bill Fulbright’s statue? I wouldn’t bet on it.
PS: For those who asked, here’s a link to the 1974 interview in which Fulbright expresses continued reticence about giving Black people the vote.