SADOW: The NCAA Retreated From Trans Activism, And Louisiana Should Advance

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards and other opponents of SB 156 just struck out thanks to an announcement by the NCAA this week.

The bill by Republican state Sen. Beth Mizell would disallow biological males from competing in intercollegiate, interscholastic, and intramural sports in sports designated for females. In essence, unless a biologically-born male has had the obligatory surgery and takes the necessary drugs to be classified as a biological female, the bill would prohibit that person from competing as a female.

Dispensing with arguments over the morality of encouraging healthy but mentally and emotionally immature children from taking life-altering drugs with long-range side effects and to accept mutilation, a talking point opponents use against it deals with politics and economics. For collegiate athletes, they say the National Collegiate Athletics Association may refuse to sponsor its championship tournament events in states that have such laws. They point to NCAA statements that events should occur where “hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination,” as well as a 2016 incident where the organizations yanked tournament games originally set for North Carolina after that state passed a law mandating that in ordinary situations sex-specific restrooms be used only by biological members of that sex.

But last weekend, the NCAA announced host sites, including implications for future host sites for this tournament, for its softball divisions. Host sites in its highest Division I included two from states with such a law covering scholastic sports, and one that also includes intercollegiate sports. In the two lower divisions, several host sites are in Texas or Oklahoma, where both states have similar legislation significantly advanced where it could become law shortly after the tournaments’ conclusions.

The impact especially is relevant for Oklahoma events. Not only does the state boast the highest combined rankings of postseason softball teams in Division I – the University of Oklahoma as the top seed and Oklahoma State University the fifth, meaning certainly one round and likely two of well-attended matchups at their respective home fields – but Oklahoma City houses the Women’s College World Series at the largest stadium and softball complex in the country, the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex. Simply, there is no substitute for the NCAA to have the championship round anywhere else unless it wants to take a steep cut in revenue and embark on a logistical nightmare.

It will get worse for the NCAA’s political preferences. In just over a week the baseball side will populate its tournament. Again, several regional host sites will end up in states with these laws and in others likely with them on the way at the Division I level and potentially the lower two levels as well. Their announcements will confirm that the NCAA will back down when presented with a show of will and force.

Note this dynamic applies to all collegiate sports. The NCAA won’t abandon football bowl games, and especially those in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX which every six years hosts the national championship game in its highest division. And this year’s second-division matchup, just concluded, took place just down the road in Frisco. Louisiana could stifle this political correctness further by presenting the same dilemma for another national championship venue, the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans – which also has hosted basketball championships. Plus, Louisiana State University scored a softball hosting, in the past often did in baseball, and even other campuses like the University of New Orleans and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette have in these sports.

The postscript will turn out differently this time. Years ago, North Carolina changed the sex-specific bathroom law to delete that provision, and the NCAA restored its hosting. Now, one of the states above granted hosting just enacted a similar law.

So, that argument about an NCAA boycott made by Edwards and other opponents to SB 156 is a dog that won’t hunt and removes this objection from passing the bill. As it is with all bullies, stand up to them and they’ll fold like a house of cards. A critical mass of states dared to oppose the NCAA’s cheap, theatrical brand of activism, and it’s lamely retreating. Louisiana needs to join in on this rout and send a message that it won’t tolerate intolerant political stunts.

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