Dozens of advocacy organizations and hundreds of athletes are asking the NCAA to move college sports events out of Idaho in response to a state law that bans transgender women from participating in women’s sports.
The coalition argues that Idaho’s law “blatantly targets an already-marginalized community,” and runs contrary to the values of the NCAA, which governs collegiate athletics. Athletes argue that Idaho should be banned from hosting NCAA events as long as the law is in place.
“This is the time for the NCAA to stand on the right side of history and support the rights of all athletes in Idaho to compete in the sports they love,” reads a letter signed by more than 400 student athletes. “…With HB500 remaining law in Idaho, it is impossible for the NCAA to host events that are inclusive and safe for all athletes.”
Idaho became the first state to ban transgender female athletes in women’s sports in March, when Gov. Brad Little signed the so-called “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” written by Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, and Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene.
Civil rights groups sued the state barely two weeks after Little signed the law, arguing that it violates the U.S. Constitution, as well as Title IX, a law that bans sex discrimination in education. That lawsuit is still winding its way through the courts.
The NCAA has previously stripped states of championship games to protest legislation restricting transgender rights. The organization removed games from North Carolina in 2016-2017 after that state passed a bill requiring transgender people to use the bathrooms matching their sex at birth. The organization later allowed games to return when the bathroom bill was repealed.