The distance between Topeka, Kansas and Sacramento, California is approximately 1,700 miles. But the distance between the two cities politically? It’s probably double that.
Earlier this February, talks for games between the University of Kansas and California-Berkley were cut off due to the California law HB 1887. The law prohibits state-sponsored travel by state universities to states that allow discrimination against people based on sexual orientation.
The law reads, “…The Board of Regents of the University of California, or the California State University… shall not… require any of its employees or members to travel to a state that … has enacted a law that voids ore repeals.. existing state or local protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression…”
Applicable laws in Kansas that would violate the California law include Kansas Senate Bill 175 – stating universities cannot punish groups for failing to comply with policies that contradict their sincerely held religious beliefs – and Kansas House Bill 2453 – which states no government agency can require religious institutions to treat any marriage, domestic partnership, or civil union as valid if it violates that group’s firmly held religious beliefs.
Kansas Associate Athletic Director Jim Marchiony believes despite the set back in scheduling, there won’t be a very large impact from the bill.
“The law will have minimal effect on Kansas Athletics,” said Marchiony in an email. “It just means we won’t be scheduling public schools in California until either: 1) Kansas Law changes to the satisfaction of California’s lawmakers, or 2) California law changes.”
If teams already scheduled competitions prior to the bill’s enactment, they would be allowed to play. For instance, KU’s men’s basketball team hosted Long Beach State University in late November of 2016, with the Jayhawks winning that contest by a count of 91-61. Unless either states’ lawmakers change their minds, the 49ers could be the last California public school to visit Kansas for quite some time to come.