Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a law Thursday that permits businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers. A number of national groups have already threatened to move planned events outside the state as a result, and one week from Saturday, the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four is scheduled to begin in Indianapolis (which is also the location of the NCAA’s national office). The organization’s president, Mark Emmert, issued a critical statement about the law soon after it was signed:
“The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events. We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees. We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week’s Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill. Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”
While Emmert’s statement suggests the NCAA could seek to avoid holding future events in Indiana (which has hosted six previous Final Fours) while the law is in effect, the organization does have a contract with the city of Indianapolis that stipulates the Final Four must be held in the city once every five years until 2039.