The Big Dance. March Madness. The NCAA Tournament. These are terms which inspire a great deal of excitement in college basketball fans across the nation. After all, so many of our favorite moments in Sports History comes from memories of the NCAA tournament. Thirty years later we still talk about Michael Jordan’s years at North Carolina, Ewing as a Georgetown Hoya, or Adam Morrison’s heartbreaking loss to UCLA in 2006. Heck, they still give Christian Laettner (won back to back Championships with Duke) endorsements and he never even made it as a professional in the NBA.
However, in light of the recent travel bans to Indiana, many coaches and fans will not be able to attend the final four in person. This is like a sacred ritual to coaches in the college basketball world.
Each year, almost every coach in the country makes their way to watch the conclusion of the NCAA tournament to scout, learn, and enjoy themselves. The National Association of Basketball Coaches Convention goes on at the same time as well, so it’s important for every coach to attend. Unfortunately, that will not be happening for many coaches this year including any that may come from Arkansas, New York, Colorado, and many other states whose governors have continued to come out with travel bans to Indiana. Pretty soon we could have a riot on our hands.
All attention is now on Indiana Governor Mike Pence, and his seat is getting hotter by the hour it seems. The State University of New York is just one school that will not have its coaches attend the Final Four or the Coaches Convention. When school officials were asked how they felt about NY Governor Cuomo’s travel ban, they replied, “As the public university system of New York State, SUNY supports all measures to combat discrimination. I commend Governor Cuomo on taking this important stand on behalf of all New Yorkers.”
It would seem they are still being supportive, in spite of the challenges this boycott is starting to produce. One can only hope something is changed soon or this could be the year we remember the NCAA tournament not by the merits of the athletes on the court, but by an unfortunate circumstance. Governor Mike Pence was asked if he had expected the kind of reaction he has been receiving from other state governments around the country. “Was I expecting this kind of backlash? Heavens no.” Nevertheless, Pence has vowed to fix the language of the law to prevent discrimination.