South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is taking much criticism from the cultural right for her decision to not sign legislation sent to her by the South Dakota legislature that would prevent biological males from participating as “transgender” athletes on single-sex teams, or in single-sex competitions, by allowing them to be limited participating in those activities to only biological females.
I wrote an article yesterday that went through a lengthy “Twitter” explanation offered by Gov. Noem for her position in a series of tweets, with my story focusing on concerns she raised about including college sports within the scope of the legislation and how the NCAA might respond to such.
Some additional issues have been uncovered in reporting by others. Business interests in South Dakota have expressed concerns about how the “woke” corporate structure across a wide swath of industries might react to the legislation, and looking at the experiences of Idaho and North Carolina after they passed state legislation branded by the left-wing as discriminatory and/or repressive. Corporations and trade associations canceled events, and California went so far as to ban state employees from traveling to events in North Carolina.
Idaho was specifically threatened by the NCAA with moving championship events scheduled to take place in Boise, which would have been a large source of revenue for the community.
These are private bodies — the NCAA is not a governmental institution. They are free to alter their business practices in response to legislation adopted in any state as their method of demonstrating their support or unhappiness with such legislation.
That doesn’t mean these private bodies are not vulnerable themselves to “pressure” being exerted upon them.
As to the NCAA, there is one direct and unavoidable consequence that could be visited upon it with great effect, if the voters of Red States would empower their legislators to do so.
First, one must understand what the NCAA is and what it does.
It is a private “association” of members that exists to stage national championship events in college athletics for its member institutions. To advance that goal, it has adopted a series of rules and regulations concerning player eligibility — supposedly intended to facilitate “fair and equitable” competition between the teams of the colleges and universities that are members.
The colleges and universities are represented in the NCAA by the presidents and chancellors of the individual schools. The NCAA proposes “legislation” to adopt rules and regulations governing competition, and the majority vote prevails. So you begin the exercise with a recognition that the NCAA’s governing structure is comprised of a community of “woke” college and university administrators, most of whom have spent their entire adult lives in academia.
But the public institutions who are members must answer to someone — and that someone is the elected officials in the states that fund the public universities or colleges.
What the NCAA does is to stage national championship competitions, license the television and broadcast rights, enlist the financial support of corporate sponsors who wish the associate themselves with the event, sell tickets to various contests around the country, and then take the net profits from all that activity and divide it up among the member institutions according to an agreed-upon formula.
The NCAA owns the rights to the NCAA “March Madness” Basketball National Championship. It does not own the rights to the College Football Playoff series, but that event is regarded as crowning the Champion of NCAA Division 1 football teams. The participants are all NCAA member institutions, and the event is responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars being paid to colleges and universities each year.
The path to bending the NCAA to the will of the Red States — or to at least neutralize it as an advocate for left-wing social justice causes that spring forth from college campuses — is to threaten that revenue stream.
Such an effort would take a bit of coordination, a bit of cooperation, and one or two driving “forces of personality” to spearhead the public effort.
It should be a relatively simple matter to draft a piece of legislation that accomplishes the simple goal of providing sporting competitions at the university level and below which limit the participants to being biological females possessing the “xx” chromosome and female genitalia at birth. If such legislation was passed in every state that is currently controlled by Republicans at the legislative and executive levels, that would include 24 states on the list.
Those 24 states would need to be prepared to push-back against any effort by the NCAA to act against the member institutions in those states, by committing in advance to resign from the NCAA and form a new alternative “Association” that respects the rights of states to pass legislation supported by their citizens.
If you consider the major universities in those 24 states and cross-reference them against the dominant college football programs over the past 40 years, you end up with the following schools as potentially leaving the NCAA and destroying the revenue-making ability of the remaining institutions from other states:
SEC: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Mississippi St., Louisiana St., Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas A&M.
Big 12: Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Texas, Texas Tech, Iowa St., and West Virginia
ACC: Florida St., Georgia Tech, Clemson
Big 10: Ohio St., Nebraska, Indiana, Purdue, and Iowa.
Pac 12: Arizona and Arizona St., and Utah.
In addition, political power is shared in states who are home to the following public colleges and universities:
Big 12: Kansas, Kansas St.,
ACC: Louisville, North Carolina, North Carolina St.,
Big 10: Michigan, Michigan St., Penn St., Wisconsin
This is now the Red State governors and legislators play the same “let met lighten your wallet” game the NCAA plays against the states. Imagine if that collection of football-playing schools were not available to stage “National Championship” events for football and/or basketball? How valuable would those events be for broadcasters and sponsors?
Except for the NCAA — and those Blue State member schools who remain behind — this threat is of an existential nature. There will be no NCAA as it exists now, as the only remaining schools of note would be along the Pacific Coast, New England, and mid-Atlantic from Virginia northward.
Something like this is a “Plan,” and it is far superior in terms of bringing about meaningful change than that being advocated by narrow interest group politics that would drive individual politicians to sacrifice their states and their careers by demanding acts of ideological purity.
But this will also demand political bravery and resoluteness of purpose from the political leadership of the Red States, because they will come under withering assault from academia in their states.
The “Pot O’ Gold” that the NCAA championships represent will follow the Red States schools — it will not remain with the NCAA.
Just watch how fast Michigan and Wisconsin come around, when faced with the reality that Ohio State will leave.
The time to act is now. The issue is front and center, and conservatives have an upper hand in the Red States.
Rather than criticize Gov. Noem for hesitating to go forward in having South Dakota take this step alone, her critics should instead start banging the drum for other states to follow her and lend support to the effort.
Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Arizona.
Each state has legislatures controlled by the GOP and a Republican Governor.
The effort should be directed at them, not Gov. Noem.