The Human Rights Campaign calls out the NCAA for empty platitudes about equal treatment of transgender athletes after the organization put softball tournaments in three states that discriminate against transgender people, including Arkansas. Baseball tournament sites seem likely to follow the pattern — discrimination is OK by the NCAA.

The statement from HRC:


Today, the Associated Press reported that the NCAA has named schools in Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee as championship host sites for upcoming regional softball tournaments in spite of the fact that all three states have passed bills banning the participation of transgender women and girls in sports consistent with their gender identity. This comes after the NCAA last month declared their opposition to anti-transgender sports ban legislation and reiterated their policy of only hosting championships in environments in which they can guarantee their athletes will be “safe, healthy, and free from discrimination.” In addition to Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee, states including Mississippi, West Virginia, Montana, and Idaho have passed laws to the same effect, with South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signing two Executive Orders to similar effect.

Despite the NCAA saying they were “closely monitoring” the legislation, eight states have enacted policies that the NCAA has signaled their opposition to. The Human Rights Campaign has been actively sharing information and urging the NCAA to take action both privately and publicly. In reaction to today’s news, Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David issued the following statement:

“The NCAA should be ashamed of themselves for violating their own policy by choosing to hold championships in states that are not healthy, safe, or free from discrimination for their athletes. It also undermines their commitment to transgender participation in NCAA events, for which they have had an inclusive policy for years. While we have remained hopeful about the NCAA stepping up to the plate and taking action like they have done in the past, they are willfully ignoring that commitment this time, despite repeated attempts by the Human Rights Campaign and others to communicate the harsh and harmful negative impacts of this legislation, which is not just pending but enacted into law in seven states, with South Dakota also creating two Executive Orders to similar discriminatory affect. Their words will not stop discrimination, only actions to deliver real consequences to states that dare to discriminate. The NCAA must face scrutiny and public pressure to do the right thing.”

The worst thing is that the bullies in the Arkansas legislature have won and they know it. Even the mighty NCAA won’t cross them.