All month long, Outsports is revisiting key moments in gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer sports history as part of LGBTQ history month. Today, we’re also celebrating NCAA Inclusion Week, with a look at the NCAA president who advocated for LGBTQ inclusion.
NCAA President Myles Brand was an advocate for the rights of LGBT people in college sports. And when he died of cancer in 2009, he was remembered fondly by Helen Carroll, head of the sports program at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Said Carroll:
“Under his leadership, education and trainings concerning LGBT coaches, administrators and student-athletes were put into place. NCLR’s first LGBT Sports Think Tank was co-sponsored by the NCAA in 2006 addressing negative recruiting based on actual or perceived sexual orientation generating recommended policy to stop this destructive practice in sports. We will truly miss his leadership in sports and are profoundly grateful to his furthering the acceptance of LGBT student athletes on the national scene.”
When Rene Portland, the anti-lesbian coach at Penn State lost her job in 2007, Brand told this to USA Today: “What the NCAA can do is make sure all people are treated respectfully whatever their sexual orientation.”
Brand’s advocacy for LGBT rights went back to his days as president of the University of Oregon. In 1989, “he appointed a campus task force on lesbian and gay concerns, and asked its members to address the problem of ensuring the rights of all individuals on this campus, regardless of sexual orientation.”
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Tomorrow — and every day in October — we’ll look back at another moment in LGBTQ sports history.