Few events thrill sports fans more than a local college football or basketball team challenge against top-ranked teams in other states — like the Crimson Tide of Alabama or the Texas Longhorns.
But a new California law that prevents state-funded travel to states deemed to have anti-LGBT laws could derail team trips to hotbeds of sports like Alabama, Texas, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Under AB 1887 which took effect Jan. 1, the California attorney general — currently Xavier Becerra — is empowered to add states that enact laws and policies deemed to be biased against the LGBT community and their families.
This week Becerra announced he was adding four new states — Texas, Alabama, Kentucky and South Dakota — to the list of places to which travel cannot be paid for with state funds. Texas, for example, just enacted a law last week allowing foster care agencies to block adoptions and related services to children and parents on the basis of “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Becerra says measures like that disadvantage LGBT families by limiting their opportunities to adopt or foster children.
“We said we were not going to aide in the discrimination of the LGBT community and we meant it,” Becerra told KQED Friday. “A school and any state-sponsored or -funded entity in the state cannot violate state law.”
“UCLA is part of our state,” the attorney general added. “UC Berkeley, all the UC system [and] the Cal State system. So certainly they are part of the state and they receive state funding and they are state sponsored.”
In the coming weeks, UC Berkeley, Fresno State and UCLA are all scheduled to play football games in states where publicly-funded travel is prohibited by AB 1887.
But the law allows exemptions for contracts that existed before it took effect this year, including sports teams with games that were already scheduled.
Fresno State, for example, doesn’t expect to be affected by the new law, at least not this year.
“The contract with Alabama was signed in 2015,” Fresno State Deputy Athletics Director Steve Robertello said. “Therefore that will allow us to make the trip to Tuscaloosa.”