I Don’t Remember Electing the NCAA to the Legislature

Scheels Arena is prepped Monday, March 20, 2017, for the NCAA West Regional hockey tournament featuring UND, Boston University, Ohio State and Minnesota-Duluth. David Samson / The Forum

MINOT, N.D. — The threat of powerful corporations retaliating against controversial policy and provocative speech has become such a rote part of our political debates and the culture war that we almost don’t even question it anymore.

Nobody has ever voted to elect the NCAA, about as venal and exploitive an entity as exists in America, to stand astride our legislative process, but in many ways, they do.

In Bismarck, the state Senate has voted to turn House Bill 1298, addressing participation in state-sanctioned sports by transgender athletes, into a study of, among other things, “the economic ramifications for state and local tourism, the consequences for the state’s relationship with regional and national athletic organizations,” as Adam Willis reports.

The threat of retaliation has been bluntly stated. Charley Johnson, president and CEO of the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau, made it the centerpiece of his opposition to the bill. “If the NCAA strikes states with these kinds of laws, that’s a huge negative for everybody,” he told Robin Huebner.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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