After the U.S. Supreme Court sat back and did nothing on Wednesday, a law went into effect in Texas that bans most abortions after six weeks. Next March, Fort Worth will host some of the first and second-round games of the Men’s NCAA Tournament, and San Antonio will be a regional site for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. The NCAA needs to boycott Texas.
“This extreme Texas law blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade and upheld as precedent for nearly half a century,” President Joe Biden said in a statement.
Boycotting Texas is the least the NCAA could do, especially after last month’s study proved that they have been holding back women’s sports. Check this out from the executive summary of the NCAA’s External Gender Equity Review:
“The results have been cumulative, not only fostering skepticism and distrust about the sincerity of the NCAA’s commitment to gender equity, but also limiting the growth of women’s basketball and perpetuating a mistaken narrative that women’s basketball is destined to be a ‘money loser’ year after year.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. The future for women’s sports in general, and women’s basketball in particular, is bright.”
In March, I suggested that the NIT and the NCAA Women’s Tournament consider boycotting Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the mask mandate. Six months later I’m trying it again as Abbott is hellbent on risking the health and safety of millions of his citizens, and the future students and recruits that could be considering going to school in the state.
Unlike in March, boycotting Texas for next year’s March Madness events won’t put the NCAA in a tough logistical spot, given that they have ample time to find other locations. Besides, the Bathroom Bill is proof that the outcry from political and social issues can make the NCAA change its plans. In April of 2017, the NCAA lifted its ban against the state of North Carolina as it refused to hold championship events there after a law was passed that removed anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, requiring the latter to use bathrooms in public facilities that aligned with the gender on their birth certificate. North Carolina’s legislature and governor repealed the controversial bill, as the state was supposed to host first and second-round NCAA tournament games in 2017. Those games wound up moving to South Carolina.
Back in 2019, there was a precursor to what happened in Texas, when Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the “heartbeat bill” into law, outlawing abortions once a heartbeat is detected, typically around six weeks. At the time, more than 12 states had either passed or tried to pass stricter abortion bills – meaning that at least a quarter of the country was trying to strip away women’s rights.
Asking the NCAA to do right by women in a state that doesn’t care about its own is a tall order. The suggestion is a pipe dream at best, and delusional at worst. But, so was 2017 when the bathroom bill happened and the NCAA took tournament games away from a basketball-crazed state like North Carolina and put them in a football factory like South Carolina.
They say a broken clock is right twice a day, and according to my watch, it appears that the time is now for the improbable to happen again. Boycott Texas.