Final Four coaches release joint statement on controversial Indiana law
In an effort to get in front of the issue before media availability begins in Indianapolis on Thursday, the four Final Four coaches released a joint statement supporting the NCAA in its stance on Indiana's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The statement released through the National Association of Basketball Coaches emphasizes condemns every form of discrimination.
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“We are aware of the recent actions in Indiana and have made a point to talk about this sensitive and important issue among ourselves and with our teams," the statement read. "Each of us strongly supports the positions of the NCAA and our respective institutions on this matter – that discrimination of any kind should not be tolerated. As a part of America’s higher education system, college basketball plays an important role in diversity, equality, fairness and inclusion, and will continue to do so in the future.”
Wisconsin's Bo Ryan, Kentucky's John Calipari, Michigan State's Tom Izzo and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski discussed concerns about Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act on a conference call Wednesday morning and agreed to release a statement. The statement very likely won't prevent them from receiving further questions Thursday and Friday before Saturday's national semifinals, but it does allow them to avoid further comment on an inflammatory issue.
Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects the rights of individuals and businesses to express strongly held religious beliefs. Critics believe it also provides cover for discrimination against and denial of service to LGBT individuals, among other concerns.
The controversy over the law has already disrupted the travel plans of several other coaches and administrators who initially planned to be in Indianapolis.
UConn coach Kevin Ollie and his staff are boycotting the Final Four in Indianapolis and the annual National Association of Basketball Coaches convention that coincides with it in compliance with an order from Gov. Dannel Malloy's prohibiting all state employees from traveling to Indiana. USC athletic director and College Football Playoff selection committee member Pat Haden has also tweeted that he is the "proud father of a gay son" and would not attend the CFP meeting this week in Indianapolis.
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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter!