California last year banned state-funded travel to the state of Kansas because of what is perceived as a law that discriminates against homosexuals.
So what is San Diego State doing playing a first-round NCAA Tournament game in Wichita, Kansas? First of all, perhaps paying for some of the trip itself.
Kansas is one of eight states that landed on a banned list for a 2016 law the state of California views as discriminatory toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. According to this Washington Blade report, former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback became the first governor in 2016 to sign a state law enabling LGBT discrimination. California Assembly Bill No. 1887 signed last year largely prohibits state-funded travel to states with discriminatory laws.
San Diego State does not schedule regular-season non-conference competition in the eight states on the California banned list — Kansas, Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee. However, being assigned to one of the banned states for postseason play is a different issue.
“We use private funds that wouldn’t have to do anything out of state,” SDSU spokesman Mike May said regarding the law . “We use non-state appropriated funds to work around that.”
While the NCAA covers most of the expenses for tournament participants — charter travel, hotels, meals — any overage in this case must be covered by San Diego State. AD J.D. Wicker told CBS Sports could use privately-raised funds and a $100,000 stipend available from the Mountain West Conference.
San Diego State used funds from its Campanile Foundation to travel and play in the Armed Forces bowl in December in Fort Worth, Texas.
“We’ve already done this once,” Wicker said.
The Campanile Foundation manages private and philanthropic giving at the school.
“At the end of the day, probably the majority, if not all the expense, we have in Kansas would be covered by NCAA or Mountain West,” Wicker added.
While the issues are not chiefly financial, they are certainly philosophical and legal. According to sources, Kansas basketball had preliminary discussions within the last year with Cal about playing a series. The KU staff was told by Cal the Bears couldn’t come to Kansas because of the law.
Any non-conference contests scheduled in those eight states by schools in the University of California system before Jan. 1, 2017, will be allowed.
Four of the eight states on the California list were awarded NCAA Tournament games this year – Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas and Kansas.
The Final Four is being played in Texas at San Antonio’s Alamodome.
UCLA could face a similar issue as San Diego State if it wins its play-in game Tuesday night in Dayton, Ohio. The Bruins would then advance to Dallas for a first-round game with Florida.
Cal State-Fullerton is the only other California school in the tournament. It leads off playing Purdue in Detroit.
Cities seeking to host NCAA championships events are typically asked by the association in documents if any discriminatory legislation is being considered or has been passed in the city or state.
The NCAA pulled championship events out of the state of North Carolina after it enacted a controversial transgender bathroom law in 2016. The law was repealed last year.
The association did not immediately respond to a question whether it would consider a similar stance in Kansas. Wichita was awarded both this year’s and the 2021 NCAA Tournament first- and second-round games before the Kansas law was passed.
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