New anti-discrimination rule for NCAA could keep cities from hosting championships

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - In a major move, the NCAA announced Wednesday that cities without human rights ordinances will not be able to host championship events like the Final Four.

The NCAA made it much harder for cities that do not protect the LGBT community to host huge events like the Final Four. The Board of Governors voted Wednesday to change their bid process for events, allowing only cities with a human rights ordinance to host big events.

“When you look at events and potentially competing and winning, we have a leg up,” said Chris Gahl, Vice President of Marketing for Visit Indy.

Gahl says Indianapolis is not impacted by the NCAA’s new rule. The city has had a human rights ordinance protecting the entire LGBT community since 2005.

“In 2005 to have the foresight to put a human rights ordinance on our books as a city was very progressive at the time to say we’re going to protect those in our LGBT community are welcomed and protected,” said Gahl.

In a statement released Wednesday, the NCAA explained why they decided to update their rules:

“The board’s decision follows 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. While proponents of the laws focus on how they protect religious beliefs, critics have voiced concerns that they create an environment of sanctioned discrimination.”

“This is where right, wrong, or indifferent, cities need to move to in order to keep healthy, specifically from a tourism and hospitality standpoint,” said Gahl.

The fallout from enacting laws that do not protect the LGBT community can be severe. North Carolina is being boycotted by companies, musicians and tourists alike because lawmakers there passed a controversial transgender bathroom law. Now the state is facing a one-two punch. Charlotte, because of a clause in the state’s recent bathroom law, no longer has a human rights ordinance and will no longer be able to host major NCAA championships.

“Charlotte’s a perfect example of a city we now have a leg up on specifically because of a municipality putting protections first,” said Gahl.

The NCAA could not be reached for comment on Thursday, but we are waiting for further information to find out if Indiana falls within the parameters of this new rule, because there is no state-wide protection for the LGBT community.

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