NCAA

A general view of the Butler Bulldogs playing against the Duke Blue Devils during the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 5, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

NCAA Fretting Over Indiana ‘Religious Liberty’ Law’s Effect Ahead Of Final Four Event

The NCAA is looking to head off a potential controversy involving its Final Four men’s basketball championship in Indianapolis next weekend following the passage of a new Indiana ‘religious freedom’ law that opponents say could allow businesses to refuse to serve gays and lesbians.

03/26/2015

Indiana Governor Mike Pence speaks during the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting Leadership Forum on April 25, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (John Gress/Getty Images)

Indiana Enacts ‘Religious Liberty’ Law; Could Legalize Discrimination Against Gay People, Opponents Say

NDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence vigorously defended the state religious objections bill that he signed into law Thursday as businesses and organizations including the NCAA pressed concerns that it could open the door to legalizing discrimination against gay people.
The state became the first to enact such a change this year among about a dozen where such proposals have been introduced. Arkansas’ governor said Thursday he supported a similar bill that’s advancing in that state’s Legislature.
Pence, a Republican mulling a possible 2016 presidential campaign, signed the bill privately in his office with at least a couple dozen supporters on hand. He later met with reporters and refuted arguments from opponents that law would threaten civil rights laws by saying that hasn’t happened under the federal religious freedom law Congress passed in 1993 and similar laws in 19 other states.
“There has been a lot of misunderstanding about this bill,” Pence said. “This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would’ve vetoed it.”
Those arguments didn’t satisfy opponents who worry the law, which will take effect in July, presents Indiana as unwelcoming and could give legal cover to businesses that don’t want to provide services to gays and lesbians.
National gay-rights consider the Indiana bill among the most sweeping of similar state proposals introduced as conservatives brace for a possible U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.
The Washington-based Human Rights Campaign said Indiana lawmakers “have sent a dangerous and discriminatory message.”
“They’ve basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it’s OK to discriminate against people despite what the law says,” said Sarah Warbelow, the group’s legal director.
The Indianapolis-based NCAA, which is holding its men’s basketball Final Four in the city next weekend, said in a statement it was concerned about the legislation and was examining how it might affect future events and its workforce.
“We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week’s Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in the statement. “Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”
Soon after Pence signed the bill, Salesforce.com founder and CEO Marc Benioff announced on Twitter that he was canceling all programs that require its customers or employees “to travel to Indiana to face discrimination.”
The San Francisco-based company bought Indianapolis-based marketing software company ExactTarget for $2.5 billion in 2013 and has kept hundreds of employees in the city. A company spokeswoman declined to elaborate on Benioff’s statement.
Conservative groups backing the bill have said it merely seeks to prevent the government from compelling people to provide such things as catering or photography for same-sex weddings or other activities they find objectionable on religious grounds.
Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter praised the new law, saying it would give abortion opponents legal recourse if they are pressured to support the procedure. The organization circulated an online petition to thank Pence for signing the bill.
At least two groups — the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and gamers’ convention organizer Gen Con — have said they would reconsider plans to events in Indianapolis because of the legislation.
Pence pointed out that President Barack Obama voted in favor of a similar state law while he was an Illinois legislator. But when Pence was asked whether he would support matching Illinois by adding sexual orientation to the state’s civil rights law, he responded: “That’s not on my agenda. I won’t be pursuing that.”

03/26/2015

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When Is The Absolute Last Minute To Fill Out Your NCAA Tournament Bracket?

Every March, 60 million Americans or more fill out NCAA brackets, predicting the winner of the men’s basketball championship. A good percentage are doing it to be part of the pop culture phenomenon, not because they are sports fans, and this fact leads to mind-numbing confusion about the championship and the office pool.

03/18/2015

Quincy Ford (credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Going Dancing: Breaking Down The First 5 Teams In

The Selection Sunday countdown has officially begun. Let’s breakdown the mid-majors putting on their dancing shoes.

03/11/2015

(Credit: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Stanford Men’s Basketball Fate Depends On National Results

This is the dilemma when you don’t win enough in January and February: You’re left in March scoreboard watching, hoping other teams lose. That’s where the Stanford men’s basketball team finds itself today as it prepares for its final two regular-season games.

03/05/2015

Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

5 NCAA Storylines To Watch Heading Into March

What to watch for in the lead up to the madness of the next couple weeks.

02/28/2015

NEWPORT BEACH, CA - JANUARY 05: Auburn Tigers Head Coach Gus Malzahn speaks to media during a Vizio BCS National Championship press conference at the Newport Beach Marriot Hotel and Spa on January 5, 2014 in Newport Beach, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Auburn, UCLA And USC Win Big On National Signing Day

National Signing Day is arguably the most important day of the college football year.

02/04/2015

EAST LANSING, MI - JANUARY 11: Head coach Chris Collins of the Northwestern Wildcats reacts during the game against the Michigan State Spartans at the Breslin Center on January 11, 2015 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Does The End Of A College Basketball Game Take Too Long?

When do 60 seconds last 10 minutes? Unfortunately, this isn’t a riddle. The answer is “the end of a close college basketball game.”

01/15/2015

DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 13: Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils reacts during their loss to the Miami Hurricanes at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 13, 2015 in Durham, North Carolina. Miami won 90-74. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

What’s Wrong With Duke?

Like a home run hitter approaching a major milestone, the wins have come slower for Mike Krzyzewski as he nears 1,000 career victories.

01/14/2015

UCSON, AZ - JANUARY 04: Jonathan Gilling #31 of the Arizona State Sun Devils attempts a steal as Brandon Ashley #21 of the Arizona Wildcats handles the ball during the second half of the college basketball game at McKale Center on January 4, 2015 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Sun Devils 73-49. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Pac-12 Basketball Weekend Preview: Arizona Looks To Continue Conference Domination

While it’s early in conference play, Arizona has shown why it was picked first in the preseason poll. The Wildcats are in action on Sunday, looking to remain unbeaten.

01/09/2015

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