The Southern Miss baseball team in 2014. (Photo: Rogelio V. Solis/AP)

Southern Mississippi baseball is a frequent NCAA tournament team. Last year, the Golden Eagles went 50-16, and for the 2018 season, the team has a preseason All-American in sophomore outfielder Matt Wallner. But the upcoming season will be slightly shorter than usual: A planned February series against Stony Brook had to be canceled because of Mississippi’s “religious liberty” law.

The Protecting Freedom of Conscience From Government Discrimination Act, HB 1523, says that marriage is defined to one man and one woman, that sex should only happen in marriage and that gender is biological and defined at birth. The law went into effect in October.

In response to this law, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order prohibiting “non-essential” travel to Mississippi. That means Stony Brook, part of the SUNY system, had to cancel its road trip.

The Sun Herald, a Biloxi newspaper, explains:

“I just hate losing the three home games,” USM head coach Scott Berry said. “I’m sure it’s going to cost us for sure. That’s three gates and everything that goes into a game day in terms of revenue.” [...]

“Our athletic director (Shawn Heilbron) and coach (Matt) Senk did not realize that the travel ban included Mississippi,” [Stony Brook athletics flak Brian] Miller said. “We knew it was North Carolina, but we did not realize that it included Mississippi.

“Southern Miss obviously wasn’t pleased that we were trying to get out of it.”

A similar, more expansive state travel ban went into effect a year ago in California, but state college teams were permitted to make previously-scheduled trips. Some schools canceled talks for games when the travel ban law went into effect, however.

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[The Sun-Herald]