COVID-19 — and not transgender politics — costs Idaho March Madness

March Madness will not come to Boise in 2021 after all — but not for the reasons you might have thought.

The NCAA is pulling the men’s basketball tournament from Boise State University and other campus-aligned venues across the nation. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA is instead moving the tournament to a single geographic area, most likely in and around Indianapolis.

The NCAA announced the move Monday.

Boise State’s host status had already been in dispute.

In June, hundreds of athletes signed a letter urging the NCAA to pull major sporting events out of Idaho, to protest the state’s first-in-the-nation transgender athletics ban.

House Bill 500, passed by the 2020 Legislature, would ban transgender girls and women from playing in girls’ and women’s sports.

The law is on hold; supporters have taken the dispute to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The NCAA has not acted on the athletes’ request to pull sporting events out of Idaho.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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