NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee is in jeopardy of losing NCAA tournaments and championships set to be played here in the future.
The league coming out in support of transgender athletes Monday saying it won’t hold championship events in places that aren’t “free of discrimination.”
Nearly 30 states are considering what opponents call ‘anti-transgender’ laws. Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Idaho have all passed laws banning transgender students from competing on sports teams that align with their gender identities.
House bill sponsor, Representative Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka), isn’t backing down. Cepicky says Tennessee’s economy could withstand the NCAA’s pressure.
Cepicky responded “yes,” when asked if he stands by the transgender athletic bill. The bill will ban transgender athletes from competing in middle and high school sports that don’t align with their sex at the time of birth.
Cepicky’s response to the threat of jobs and money potentially being lost, “I think Tennessee’s economy is very strong.”
The NCAA came out against discriminatory legislation in several states saying, “When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected.”
“I stood up in committee and I stood up on the house floor and said this will cost our state money and it will cost our state jobs,” said Representative John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville), “So, the question we need to be asking Governor Bill Lee, Rep. Scott Cepicky and others who voted for this slate of hate is how much is discrimination worth to them?”
Joe Woolley, CEO of the Nashville LGBT Chamber says the move by the NCAA is the beginning of the dominoes to fall on Tennessee in response anti-LGBT legislation.
“We are pleading with them, stop discrimination, and think about the business and economic impact that the discriminatory bills are going to bring upon this state,” Woolley said.
When asked what examples he could point to that it won’t negatively harm Tennessee’s economy, Cepicky said, “The bill was passed to defend girls’ sports, to allow girls to participate against girls, it’s a shame that the NCAA has taken a position that they stand against girls sports.”
Amazon and Dell Technologies are the latest corporations to voice disapproval of anti-LGBT legislation, warning that laws like this could cost Tennessee valuable business.
News 2 reached out to Governor Bill Lee who previously could not say if the transgender athletic ban was discriminatory, and we have not heard back.