The state of New York is anything but a hotbed for college basketball, or collegiate sports in general.
In part that’s because, instead of concentrating its students at one or two state schools (Ohio State, Michigan, etc.) and thus creating a mega campus with 100,000-plus students, New York hosts 64 schools all across the state.
Still, many New York state universities participate in college sports at the highest level. That means their coaches would typically be heading to Indianapolis this weekend, since it’s the site of the annual National Association of Basketball Coaches convention alongside the Final Four.
But some are skipping the event because of Indiana’s new religious freedom law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
“In support of Governor Cuomo’s travel ban to the state of Indiana, I and other members of the Binghamton men’s basketball staff will not travel to Indianapolis for the NCAA Final Four and events surrounding it,” Binghamton University basketball coach Tommy Dempsey says.
Officials at Stony Brook and Albany also say their schools’ coaches will attend.
Next door in Connecticut (a state which has its own version of a religious freedom law), Coach Kevin Ollie has also been told not to go to Indiana.
It’s worth remembering that former Chief Justice Earl Warren once said, “I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures.”
Increasingly, though, even sports offers no respite from politics and its failures.