Add Connecticut Coach Kevin Ollie and his staff to the list of people not making trips to Indiana this week because of the state’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
In response to Indiana’s new law, which many contend will allow for businesses to deny services to gays and lesbians, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy issued an executive order that banned state-funded travel to the Hoosier State.
Ollie had been given leeway to decide whether to go to the Final Four this week because much of his trip had already been paid for before the ban was enacted.
“In support of Gov. Malloy’s travel ban to the state of Indiana, Kevin Ollie and other members of the UConn men’s basketball staff will not travel to Indianapolis for the NCAA Final Four and events surrounding it,” Connecticut President Susan Herbst said Tuesday in a statement. “UConn is a community that values all of our members and treats each person with the same degree of respect, regardless of their background and beliefs and we will not tolerate any other behavior.”
Ollie’s Huskies team won the national championship last year and the coach was also expected to attend the National Assn. of Basketball Coaches convention in Indianapolis, which runs from April 2-6.
Connecticut Athletic Director Warde Manuel said he found the law unacceptable and hoped Indiana would reconsider SB 101 before the women’s Final Four is hosted by the state in 2016, according to the Associated Press.
“They have a choice to make and I think others have choices to make on whether they’ll spend money at the businesses in the state of Indiana,” Manuel said.
Since 2008, the Connecticut women’s basketball team has won four national championships or made it to the Final Four, including this year’s in Tampa. Fla.
Earlier Tuesday, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden announced he would not attend the College Football Playoff committee’s meeting in Indianapolis in support of his son, who is gay.
Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme