Update March 31, 7:25pmET: Head men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie will not go to the Final Four in Indianapolis due to the new anti-LGBT law in Indiana. UConn president Susan Herbst said in a statement: "In support of Governor Malloy's travel ban to the state of Indiana, Kevin Ollie and other members of the UConn men's basketball staff will not travel to Indianapolis for the NCAA Final Four and events surrounding it. UConn is a community that values all of our members and treats each person with the same degree of repsect, regardless of their background and beliefs and we will not tolerate any other behavior."
Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy has signed an executive order banning state-sponsored travel to the state of Indiana. The action is in response to the state's adoption of an anti-LGBT law that legalizes discrimination and is just the latest example of the law impacting the world of sports.
Malloy shared the news on Twitter.
Because of Indiana's new law, later today I will sign an Executive Order regarding state-funded travel. -DM— Governor Dan Malloy (@GovMalloyOffice) March 30, 2015
The new policy directly affects public schools like UConn. This new government policy effectively prohibits UConn from playing any road games at any schools in Indiana, including Notre Dame and Indiana Univ. Given the strength of the men's and women's basketball programs of all three schools, this is a big deal.
UConn athletic department spokesman Mike Enright told Outsports he doesn't believe the school has any games currently scheduled to be held in Indiana at this time and wasn't sure right now of how the executive order will affect the Huskies' future plans.
"UConn learned of the executive order today, as did other Connecticut state agencies, and we need to understand more about how it will affect various aspects of the University's operations before we can discuss it in detail."
Some people have pointed to this new Connecticut policy as hypocritical because the state also has a so-called religious freedom act. However, Connecticut also has numerous statutes explicitly barred discrimination based on sexual orientation (in addition to r
Number of statutes in CT prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. pic.twitter.com/qstuB0ZVEN— Mark Bergman (@Bergman2004) March 30, 2015
LGBT panel for coaches at the Final Four
The National Association of Basketball Coaches will host a panel discussion on LGBT issues at the Final Four. The project is the brainchild of gay basketball coach Anthony Nicodemo and is sponsored by the You Can Play project.
Currently UConn has several coaches, include men's head coach Kevin Ollie, who are scheduled to travel to the National Association of Basketball Coaches convention in Indianapolis during the Final Four.
"Plane flights and hotels have already been reserved and purchased," Enright said. "The convention is held annually at the site of the Final Four, but is not an NCAA event. After we receive additional clarification on the Executive Order a decision will be made."
I hope the UConn coaches do come to Indianapolis and join us at the LGBT panel being hosted by the NABC. It would be powerful to have them in the room, and they would hear from out gay athletes and coaches on best practices to make their own team more LGBT-friendly.