USC athletic director Pat Haden tweeted on Tuesday that he will not attend a College Football Playoff committee meeting in Indianapolis this week due to Senate Bill 101, the controversial religious freedom law Indiana passed last week by Gov. Mike Pence.
The law, which will go into effect in July, has garnered national attention this month. Proponents say the law protects individual religious freedoms from state and local governments. Opponents say it could allow businesses to refuse to serve LGBT customers by citing the business owners’ religious beliefs.
In the tweet, Haden said he was skipping the meeting as “the proud father of a gay son.”
Haden is one of 13 committee members responsible for developing the weekly College Football Playoff rankings that were introduced last season.
The NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis and will hold the NCAA men’s basketball tournament Final Four at the Indianapolis Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend, issued a statement last week on the bill.
“The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events,” read the statement from NCAA president Mark Emmert. “We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees. We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week’s Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill. Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”
The LGBT sports coalition has since voiced its support for relocating major sporting events from Indiana, and a Change.org petition to move next season’s Big Ten football championship out of Indianapolis has drawn more than 12,000 supporters as of Tuesday afternoon.
On Saturday, the NBA, WNBA, Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever also issued a joint statement on the law. On Tuesday, NASCAR released a statement, saying the organization is “disappointed” by the legislation.
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