The NCAA will not divest from colleges and universities requesting religious exemptions from Title IX regulations that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the association’s “chief inclusion officer” said March 15.
Bernard Franklin, executive vice president of education and community engagement, replied on the NCAA’s behalf to a request from more than 80 LGBT sports, religious and youth advocacy groups that the athletics association demonstrate its commitment to diversity and inclusion by punishing 59 campuses claiming a new rule extending Title IX protection to transgender students violates their Christian faith.
A number of the schools recently requesting Title IX waivers are affiliated with state conventions of Southern Baptists.
Franklin said the NCAA’s diverse membership “offers students the opportunity to select from schools that value various attributes” and that Title IX waiver decisions are between the schools and the U.S. Department of Education, not the NCAA.
Leaders of two organizations requesting action by the NCAA said they were disappointed by the organization’s response.
“How can the NCAA state that they support LGBTQ inclusion in their rules and programs, then turn their back on students at schools that openly discriminate?” Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, and Haven Herrin, executive director of Soulforce, said in a joint statement. “LGBTQ-inclusive campuses have signed up for fair play, not discrimination.”