The College World Series, due to begin June 18th, has been held in Omaha for the last 66 years. In 2009, the NCAA and College World Series of Omaha, Inc. announced a 25-year contract extension keeping the CWS in Omaha through 2035.
But today, the Omaha World-Herald wondered, in a front page story whether the hostility toward LGBTs displayed by the state's GOP at its convention last LGBTweek could change that. Last week, the Nebraska GOP added a plank to its platform last weekend calling for a law restricting transgender people to restrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their birth certificate gender.
In an April 27th press release, headlined "Board of Governors approves anti-discrimination process for championships bids," the organization declared "Hosts must demonstrate environment will safeguard dignity of participants, spectators." Unlike North Carolina and Mississippi, Nebraska has no laws enabling "religious liberty" enabled discrimination of LGBTs. On the other hand, unlike neighboring Iowa, the state has no laws protecting LGBTs from discrimination. Omaha's municipal ordinance now protects LGBTs from job and public accommodations discrimination, but not from housing discrimination, a loophole supported by the current GOP mayor of Omaha, Jean Stothert, who was on the city council during passage of the ordinance change and who was hostile to any LGBT antibias measures.
The World-Herald aired its concern thusly, today:
Passing a transgender bathroom law could jeopardize Nebraska’s long history with the College World Series and its hopes of hosting future volleyball championships and basketball regionals.The Herald's alarm (usually economic and rarely driven by social justice) extended to:
The Nebraska Republican Party called for such a law at its state convention last weekend.
But the proposal could collide with a new NCAA policy opposing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The college sports organization’s board of governors adopted the policy April 27, after North Carolina and some other states passed laws allowing people to be refused services based on being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
...TD Ameritrade Park, which is slated to host the College World Series through 2035, and the CenturyLink Center, which has hosted three NCAA volleyball championships, plus volleyball and men’s basketball regional tournaments. CenturyLink will host the regional finals of the men’s basketball tournament in 2018.The paper also wondered how the GOP threat would affect bidding on NCAA "tournament sites for volleyball, men’s basketball, wrestling and other sports in December."
Lincoln’s Pinnacle Bank Arena and the Devaney Center have hosted some regional NCAA events as well, arranged through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
|Above: tweet from Nebraska's|
Democratic Party Chairman, Vince Powers
Were the series and its attendant TV cameras, radio microphones and print reporters and photographers to move elsewhere, TD Ameritrade's return on its naming rights investment would be next to worthless.
Despite that, Gov. Ricketts, who has never given LGBTs in Nebraska the time of day, took the following (public) stance:
Ricketts said the NCAA policy or the potential loss of NCAA events would not affect the positions he takes.
“They need to make rules as they see fit, but it doesn’t impact my thought processes on what we need to do here in Nebraska,” he said.
|Batshit crazy GOP Sen. Kintner,|
“Economic terrorism is not a reason to make laws,” he said. “The NCAA is a bunch of left-wing loonies.”Nate Grasz, a policy analyst for the Nebraska Family Alliance, said that the state should not bend to the NCAA policy.
“We’re well known as being welcoming, friendly and respectful to everyone,” he said. “If they (the NCAA) felt for some reason they couldn’t come here, it would be their loss.”This, from a representative of an organization which gathered 10,000 signatures to kill an LGBT rights ordinance in Lincoln.
Finally, Omaha's local sketch comedy show, Omaha Live! hilariously (and impressively) weighed in on bathroom bills last night: