Boise’s wait to find out if it will continue to host the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament this spring will last a couple more months.
The NCAA Board of Presidents had been scheduled to discuss Idaho’s House Bill 500 at its meeting on Tuesday and whether to pull first- and second-round games from ExtraMile Arena next March as a result, but decided to table any decision on the matter until its October meeting.
HB 500, known as the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, was signed by Gov. Brad Little in March and became effective July 1. It bans transgender girls and women from playing school-sponsored sports on teams that match their gender identity. The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho filed a federal lawsuit in April challenging the law on behalf of a student-athlete at Boise State and another at Boise High. The case has not been decided yet.
“The NCAA is working with national and international groups as it reviews its current transgender athlete policy,” the NCAA, which also stated its opposition to the bill after its passing, said in a statement provided to The Idaho Press on Wednesday. “Inclusion and fairness are the objectives in addressing the complex set of issues. The NCAA Board of Governors will hear an update regarding the policy review at its October meeting as it considers future championship host sites. The NCAA is monitoring the lawsuit involving Idaho Bill 500 and will review the court’s decision when it is made.”
In June, the NCAA received three letters from student-athletes, professional athletes and advocacy groups asking the organization to prohibit the State of Idaho from hosting NCAA Tournament events while the law is on the book. Boise State is scheduled to host games in the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on March 18 and 20. It would be the 10th time the school has hosted the tournament, the last being in 2018.
The NCAA has previously pulled the tournament from states due to their laws or policies. In 2016-17, the NCAA pulled seven championships — including Men’s Basketball Tournament games — out of North Carolina due to a law banning people from using public bathrooms that did not correspond to their gender at birth. The NCAA also banned South Carolina from hosting NCAA Championships from 2001-15 until the Confederate Flag was removed from its statehouse grounds.
In June, the NCAA joined the SEC in a ban on hosting championship events in Mississippi while the Confederate symbol appeared on the state flag. Mississippi is currently in the process of changing its flag.