Minnesota’s public college sports teams are now barred from playing in North Carolina, following a decision by the state’s college system to boycott North Carolina over its transgender bathroom law.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton announced in March he was instructing all state agencies to forego non-essential travel to North Carolina until it repealed its new law that requires individuals use bathrooms that align with the sex on their birth certificates. The order didn’t specifically apply to state colleges, but the Minnesota State College and Universities (MSCU) system decided on its own to implement a similar policy.
MSCU officials ruled Tuesday that all athletic travel was non-essential, and was therefore subject to the travel ban.
The decision will have immediate consequences. For example, the NCAA Division II baseball tournament is scheduled to be held in Cary, North Carolina in late May. Now, Minnesota’s Division II baseball programs are prohibited from taking part. Currently, St. Cloud State is ranked third nationally, but will be unable to compete for the title.
Several coaches have already complained about the new rule. Matt Magers of Minnesota State-Mankato said it was unfortunate players are punished for factors beyond their control.
“It’s a life-changing experience, lifetime opportunity, and that’s everybody’s goal at the end of the season, to get to the national tournament,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “In the grand scheme of things, there are things you work for that you aren’t going to be able to accomplish. It should be about the student-athlete, and it would be unfortunate if they couldn’t go because of things out of their control.”
Similarly, Dwight Kotila of Century College was deeply unhappy with the ruling. The school’s baseball team has already qualified for the national junior college Division III baseball tournament, but is now blocked from going.
“Obviously, everyone supports the opposition to the law that has passed in North Carolina, but other than that it’s not really fair to our student athletes that have worked so hard and put in so much effort,” he told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “These tournaments are planned years in advance, so for them to come in at the last minute and say ‘you can’t go’ just doesn’t make a lot of sense to a lot of us.”
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