Sports teams from public universities in Minnesota are banned from traveling to North Carolina, including the NCAA baseball tournament in Cary.
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities announced this week that sporting events qualify as “nonessential” state-funded travel, which Gov. Mark Dayton banned for North Carolina in the wake of House Bill 2. A number of states and cities have instituted similar travel bans.
“On May 2, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities presidents met and expressed their support for Governor Dayton,” a statement from the university system said. “The presidents have concluded that athletics-related travel is nonessential for purposes of this directive. While we understand that some players may be disappointed, no sports team from any of our colleges or universities will participate in tournaments in North Carolina this spring.”
This year’s NJCAA Division III Baseball World Series will be held in Kinston. And the NCAA Division II baseball championship will be held in Cary.
The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported Wednesday that two teams were hoping to reach the Cary tournament: Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State. Century College had already qualified for the Kinston event.
Century’s baseball coach, Dwight Kotila, told The Star Tribune that his players are upset by the travel ban.
“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,” Kotila said. “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.”
The NCAA Board of Governors recently adopted an anti-discrimination requirement for sites that bid to host NCAA sporting or educational events. Sites 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.”