NCAA: All championship game participants must be protected

Screen shot 2016-04-28 at 11.49.36 AMThe NCAA announced a new requirement for bidding on NCAA events, including men’s and women’s Final Fours and conferences: Cities bidding must “demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event.”

The new policy does not mention North Carolina where championship games are scheduled to run next year.

From the resolution:

Historically, the Association  has used the opportunity to host its events as a means to make clear its values. The Association now prohibits championships events with predetermined sites in states where governments display the Confederate battle flag, and prohibits NCAA members from hosting championships events if their school nicknames use Native American imagery that is considered abusive and offensive.

The NCAA statement said it considers protection of race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity vital to protecting students’ well-being.

The statement was released by the NCAA press office and accompanied by a video with Kansas State President Kirk Schultz making the announcement.

—  David Taffet

3 Texas groups sign letter demanding NCAA divest from campuses seeking Title IX exemptions

Criswell-College

Criswell College in Dallas is among the institutions to apply for a Title IX exemption.

Fairness Fort Worth, Resource Center and Houston’s  Legacy Center have joined a coalition of more than 80 LGBT sports, religious and youth advocacy groups signed on to a letter issued publicly yesterday (Wednesday, March 9) calling on the National Collegiate Athletic Association to divest from all religious-based institutions that have made Title IX waiver requests targeting transgender youth.

In their letter to the organization, which oversees and regulates athletics in higher education, they say the Title IX exemptions contradict the NCAA’s mission.

“Our partners on this open letter agree with the NCAA when it says that, ‘Diversity and inclusion improves the learning environment for all student-athletes, and enhances excellence within the Association.’ It is because we believe diversity and inclusion leads to the best learning environments that we ask NCAA to divest from all religious based campuses who have requested these discriminatory waivers,” the letter reads.

An educational institution run by a religious organization may apply for a Title IX exemption from the Department of Education if it “would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization.”

The requests grew in response to the Department of Education decision in 2014 to include transgender students under Title IX protections.

The Title IX waiver allows campus administrators to deny transgender students admission, usage of public accommodations, and protections against anti-LGBT actions from students and faculty.

“Religion-based bigotry is the basis for the vast majority of prejudice and discrimination LGBT people face, especially young people,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride and one of the signatories, said in a statement. “The NCAA cannot stand for this outright discrimination among its member institutions and we urge them to take action to ensure an inclusive sports culture that is safe and fair for all athletes, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

There are currently fifty-nine religious-based colleges and universities on the list, according to Campus Pride’s “Shame List.”

East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton and Howard Payne University in Brownwood are among the 37 campuses who received exemptions. University of Dallas in Irving, Criswell College in Dallas and Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene have applied for waivers.

“As people of faith or spirit, we call upon the NCAA to act on its stated values as an LGBTQ inclusive organization and divest from these schools who are willfully and intentionally creating unsafe environments for LGBTQ students,” said Jordyn Sun, national campus organizer at Soulforce. “No athlete should play sports under the specter of fear and discrimination. Instead, these schools should simply follow the law.”

—  James Russell

LeTourneau bans dating for gay athletes, support for marriage equality

Screen shot 2015-05-19 at 2.37.51 PMLeTourneau University, an NCAA Division III school in Longview, has specifically banned any gay student-athletes attending the school from dating, and has banned vocal support among students for marriage equality. Any athlete caught engaging in such “immoral behavior” could be kicked off his or her team.

According to OutSports.com: “The school’s student-athlete handbook, complete with NCAA logo, now reads:

“Consistent with our desire to celebrate and model a Scriptural approach to sexuality, the University prohibits same-sex dating behaviors and public advocacy for the position that sex outside of a biblically-defined marriage is morally acceptable.”

LeTourneau Univ. is an inter-denominational Christian school with an enrollment of about a couple thousand students. The school has a history of being anti-gay, having once brought in “ex-gay” speaker Christopher Yuan to talk about how God can make people not be gay.

—  Tammye Nash

Bracketology: The winner of the Cook Hall cocktail contest is …

The remnants of the bracket — a mess of mixing, finally ended.

The NCAA picked their champion b-ball team last night (congrats, Louisville), but today is when we reveal the most important bracket results: The cocktails at the W’s Cook Hall. We started with a Sweet Sixteen, whittled it down to an Elite Eight and now stand at a Final Four. Well, here we go: The finals!

In the Battle of the Ampersands — the Dark & Stormy versus the Gin & Sin — it was sweet rum against a surprisingly fruit gin concoction. Even I was surprised that my best pal gin couldn’t stand up to the complex delights of rum. The D&S enters the final as the longshot.

Longshot, because if there’s one thing I like more than gin, it’s bourbon, so despite the unexpected strength showed by the beery Shandy, the Mint Julep goes into the last round as the favorite.

But nothing’s for sure. I tasted and retasted the Dark & Stormy and the Julep as Cook Hall’s mixologists plotted it. The Julep had heart, the Julep had the hometown advantage … but the D&S had the points. It’s the Dark & Stormy at the buzzer!

And that’s my top cocktail at Cook Hall.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

My Cook Hall cocktail bracket is down to the Final Four

IMG_6984

Last week, I did a Sweet Sixteen bracket, not for NCAA men’s basketball, but for the cocktails at Cook Hall. The gastropub at the W Hotel asked me to judge the creations customers can make with their offered cocktail kits. You can follow them on Facebook and win stuff if you can guess the outcome.) This week, it’s time to whittle the selections down to the Final Four.

The top of the bracket is a matchup between the scotch-laced Mark Twain and the rum-based Dark & Stormy. This is one of my favorite pairings, because both provide some unexpected depth on the bench. Up against another competitor, the Mark Twain would have gone in a favorite but the winner here is the D&S.

That cocktail will take on the winner between a classic Margarita and the fruity-but-gin-soaked Gin & Sin. For me, it was barely a contest. Gin has it all over tequila when it comes to the long stretch, and the G&S bumps against the D&S in the Final Four. It’ll be a battle of the ampersands.

The Cinderella story that has been the Shandy — a beer creation with kick and fruit — continues, as it upsets one of the two bourbon drinks in the lineup, the Pit Master. It’s a terrible blow to Kentucky fans, but it wouldn’t be a tourney without some out-of-the-blue victors.

Kentucky does get represented, though, in the bottom of the bracket with its favorite son, the Mint Julep. It could have been a rum-away with the D&S already in, but the upstart Mojito caved to the wily excess of the julep.

Next week, we’ll get down to the Final Four, with the Dark & Stormy/Gin & Sin and the Shandy/Julep. But really, when you drink this much, there are no losers.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Chandler Parsons shirtless!!!

Chandler Parsons

So I’m probably a little biased since I went to the University of Florida, but I’m saying the hottest player in this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is Gators senior Chandler Parsons (right), who’ll be taking the court later today against the Mormons of BYU in the Sweet 16. In my mind Parsons is this year’s version of Butler’s Gordon Hayward, in the sense that he’s both good-looking AND a great player. Anyhow, it will be fun to watch Parsons and the Gators take on Jimmer Fredette and the BYU Cougars this evening. Not surprisingly, I couldn’t find a shirtless photo of Fredette. In case you missed it, BYU dismissed one of its starting players, Brandon Davies, earlier this year after he admitted to having premarital sex with his girlfriend. Parsons and UF coach Bill Donovan were asked about the controversy during a press conference last night. Watch their response above.

Jimmer Fredette

—  John Wright

NCAA Ironing Out Trans Athlete Rules

Kye Allums X390 (GETTY VIA DAILY NEWS) | ADVOCATE.COMThe governing body of college sports has clarified its stance on
allowing student athletes to undergo medical gender transition
procedures while remaining eligible to play.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Kye Allums, The First Trans Man to Play NCAA Division I Basketball

When college basketbal player Kye Allums (nee Kay-Kay) hits the court Nov. 13 for George Washington University's season opener, it'll be the first time an openly trans Division I player plays ball. The junior, a Minnesota native who grew up resisting his mother's best efforts to dress him in feminine clothes, began coming out to teammates as trans during his sophomore year, and eventually managed to have that conversation in June with head coach Mike Bozeman, who told his he would always have his back.

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—  admin