So USC and UCLA are leaving the Pac-12 to join the Big Ten, but there are still some minor details to work out.
Such as, this one:
Will the state of California allow those schools to compete on the home field/court of “deplorables?” — specifically, certain Big Ten schools who don’t share their beliefs or view of the world and are on the official California Naughty List?
In 2016, you might recall, California Gov. Gavin Newson and the State Legislature enacted a law that prohibits state-funded and state-sponsored travel to states that “discriminate” against LGBTQ people.
The bill states, “California must take action to avoid supporting or financing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”
In other words, they would fight what they perceive as “intolerance” with intolerance. If you don’t agree with their definition of tolerance, then they won’t do business with you.
They do not believe that other states should be free to choose their own way — think like they do, or go away.
The list of states where California state funds won’t be permitted for travel has grown to 22 — Indiana, Louisiana, Arizona and, ta-dum, Utah, were added to the Naughty List this year.
This law applies to “state agencies, departments, boards, authorities and commissions,” and state-funded high school and university athletic teams.
As members of the Big Ten, UCLA and USC will have to play road games against teams in Ohio, Indiana and Iowa — all of whom are on the Naughty List.
There are several other big-time football programs in other conferences that are based in states that are also on the Naughty List — Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.
They all made the list of deplorables.
It’s a measure of sports’ importance in this country — for better or worse — that one of the first things people wondered when this law was enacted was how it would affect athletic teams.
Well, the games will go on.
If COVID-19 couldn’t stop sports entirely, then neither can Assembly Bill 1887. The University of California and California State University clarified their position on this issue when they told The Sacramento Bee last year that the schools’ sports teams can travel to states on the banned list, but only with money from donors and other nontaxpayer sources, such as tuition and university fees.
That’s a steep price. It’s expensive to pack up a football team and fly it to, say, Columbus, Ohio, and put it up in a hotel.
It’s fair to wonder what would happen if every state followed California’s lead and produced their own Naughty (or is it Haughty?) List.
You’d have schools from Republican states playing only against schools from Republican states and schools from Democrat states playing only against schools from Democrat states.
Blue States vs. Blue States, Red States vs. Red States.
USC vs. Alabama would not happen. Nor would USC vs. Notre Dame.
This is nothing new, of course. This sort of nonsense has dogged the Olympics, for example, for more than 100 years.
The ideal of the Olympics and international sport was to bring together diverse people and their cultures for athletic events, but many editions of the Olympic Games have been marred by countries choosing not to participate because of some political cause.
The Olympic symbol (the five interlocking rings symbolizing the five continents) and the Olympic oath debuted in the 1920 Games.
The oath reads like something that was written in the current era: “We promise to take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules and in the spirit of fair play, inclusion and equality. Together we stand in solidarity and commit ourselves to sport without doping, without cheating, without any form of discrimination.”
That is not what will happen if California has its way. Where will it end? It’s very possible that California will now add states to the Naughty List who choose or have chosen already not to allow abortion.
AB1887 has established a poor precedent.