Sport and politics may be intersecting in a new way in 2017, as the state of California has banned state employees (a banner that would include state-funded University athletic coaches) from using tax money to travel to states with laws considered discriminatory. The list of states currently stands at 8 and includes Texas, the largest of the contiguous United States.
The Mercury News reports that a California law that took effect in January 2017 creates travel bans to states with laws California deems “discriminatory in regards to LGBT issues.” That ban list originally included Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee. But this week, California’s attorney general announced that four more states would join the list: Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and Texas.
Most of the states found themselves added to the list for passing laws regarding faith-based adoption agencies that won’t place children with same-sex families.
The Texas Tribune reports that the travel ban applies to “California state agencies, universities and commissions,” preventing those state institutions from using tax dollars to send their employees to states on the banned list.
In theory, that could prevent a hypothetical dual meet matchup in the growing Cal-Texas rivalry on the men’s side, or could keep California state schools from attending the Art Adamson Invite at Texas A&M or the Arena Pro Swim Series in Austin.
On the other hand, it’s not entirely clear how the travel ban will function with regard to universities or their athletic programs. The ban speaks specifically to using tax dollars to fund trips, so schools could perhaps self-fund, or it could be determined that athletic departments are technically using their own revenue to fund trips to banned states, or using other sources like donations or student fees.
But the situation will be one to keep an eye on moving forward, especially if the list grows, or if any major events take place in states on the banned list. Here’s a list of the upcoming NCAA meets being held in one of the eight currently banned states:
- 2019 Women’s NCAA Championships: Austin, Texas
- 2019 Men’s NCAA Championships: Austin, Texas
- 2021 Women’s NCAA Championships: Greensboro, North Carolina
The ban would also affect various conference championships, invites and dual meets.