In wake of the Indiana legislature’s announcement that they would amend the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), NCAA president Mark Emmert expressed that his organization will determine where it will host future championships based on the content of the new law.
Both houses of the Indianapolis legislature approved revisions of the law and Governor Mile Pence signed the modified RFRA bill on Thursday. The “fix” comes after a tumultuous week of hounding by the media, corporations, the NFL, NBA, and the Indianapolis-based NCAA.
“[We] believe that it absolutely, positively needs to get fixed,” Emmert said. “It’s a bill that creates an environment within which college athletics would find it very difficult to operate.” Emmert threatened that the NCAA would move its headquarters if he was not satisfied with the bill’s revised language.
“If I believed we couldn’t conduct our affairs in a fashion that didn’t prohibit discrimination against people for any number of reasons, then I would surely recommend that we move,” President Emmert stated.
ESPN reported that because of the recent chaos surrounding the Indiana RFRA law and that nineteen states have RFRA laws intact and 13 other states passed or are considering them Emmert will need to scrutinize carefully where the NCAA will play future tournaments.
Emmert admits that getting all the schools to agree on new NCAA venues may be challenging given that it’s membership is diverse and many schools have strong religious affiliations. Nevertheless, Emmert believes that the NCAA will make changes if necessary.