The National Collegiate Athletic Association represents massive economic opportunity for any city lucky enough to be selected to host one of the organization’s events. From men’s and women’s basketball championships in the spring to college football bowl games throughout the winter, the NCAA gives fans reasons to book plane tickets, reserve hotel rooms, eat in local restaurants and spend plenty of money to be part of the big-game action. As cities compete for the chance to be on the NCAA championships map, their leaders must highlight hotel rooms, public infrastructure, security protection and a range of other factors that distinguish them as ideal destinations.
Now, those cities must address a set of new concerns in the NCAA’s Non-Discrimination Questionnaire. After approving a new rule that host sites must “demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination” at its April Board meeting, the NCAA unveiled the new questionnaire on Friday, July 22. Bidding cities must outline new information including whether there are anti-discrimination laws in place to protect athletes and fans and whether any laws could interfere with personal bathroom and locker room preference.
“We are committed to providing a championship experience within an inclusive environment for student-athletes, coaches, administrators and fans,” Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice president for championships and alliances, said in a statement. “With the Board of Governors’ direction, we are taking steps to assure that anyone associated with an NCAA championship event will be treated with fairness and respect.”
Concerns about anti-discrimination legislation are reshaping host city selections at the professional level, too. Last week, the National Basketball Association announced that it will no longer host the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte due to the controversial HB2 law. “While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2,” the league said in a statement.
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Has your organization considered anti-discrimination legislation in its decision-making process? Go to Catalyst to share your thoughts. If you are considering which questions to pose to potential host cities, you can view the NCAA’s questionnaire here.