Lambda Legal Honors NCAA for Leadership in Fight for LGBT Civil Rights in Indiana and Nation-wide

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August 24, 2016

On Friday, September 16, Lambda Legal will honor the NCAA at its annual Indiana Benefit, the largest annual LGBT civil rights event in the state, in recognition of the NCAA’s leadership in promoting fairness and equality for LGBT people in the Hoosier state and throughout the country.

The NCAA national office was vocal surrounding Indiana SB 101, termed the "religious freedom" bill, as well as similar bills introduced earlier this year that unfairly targeted our communities. Lambda Legal honors the NCAA with the 2016 Corporate Leadership Award.

Click here for more information or to purchse tickets to the Indiana Benefit!

“Sports are at their best when they bring all of us together, and the NCAA has been a stand out leader in bringing its values and leadership to our civil rights struggle,” said Jim Bennett, Regional Director of the Midwest regional office of Lambda Legal. “It stood with us when Lambda Legal and our coalition partners sounded the alarm over SB 101, Indiana’s religious refusal law, and again with the introduction and ultimate defeat of SB 100 and SB 344, bills that would have sanctioned discrimination against LGBT Hoosiers. NCAA gave a powerful voice to our fight in Indiana, raising awareness and discourse about dignity and equality for all - in sports as well as in schools and cities across America.”

At the national level, the NCAA Board of Governors voted this April to require host sites bidding on championships and events to demonstrate how they will ensure that NCAA events will be environments that are “safe, healthy and free of discrimination and also safeguard the dignity of everyone involved in the event.”

Shortly after, they followed up with a questionnaire for cities wanting to host NCAA events in the future, including the Final Fours, educational events and conferences, asking how they will ensure the events are safe and free from discrimination for everyone participating.

“I want to take this opportunity to applaud Lambda Legal for its continued efforts in the fight for equality and for honoring the NCAA and its national office with the 2016 Corporate Leadership Award,” said Bernard Franklin, NCAA executive vice president for education and community engagement and chief inclusion officer. “The NCAA is committed to ensuring safe environments that are free from discrimination for its student-athletes and all individuals who attend NCAA events. Additionally, as our headquarters is in Indianapolis, the NCAA national office supports local efforts to make our community a welcoming and inclusive place to live and work. We’re proud to accept this honor in the ongoing push of equality for all.”

“The Association has set an example nation-wide for how organizations and businesses can be allies in the movement for LGBT civil rights,” added Bennett. “We are thrilled to honor the NCAA this year with the Corporate Leadership Award for holding event sites to an inclusive standard, which sets a good example for the student-athletes it represents.”

Read the press release.

NCAA, Indiana