Campus Pride signs onto national letter with over two dozen organizations telling Commissioner Bowlsby to not allow Brigham Young University into the Big 12 Conference.
We are writing to express our concerns about Brigham Young University’s (BYU) candidacy for Big 12 Conference membership. As organizations committed to ending homophobia, biphobia and transphobia both on and off the field of play, we are deeply troubled by this possibility. We feel it would be extremely problematic to include BYU in your conference expansion for the following reasons:
Adding BYU would be inconsistent with Big 12 Conference membership values.
Currently, the Big 12 as a conference is overwhelmingly LGBT-inclusive. Nine out of ten of your member schools have explicit protections for students based on their sexual orientation. Eight out of ten of your member schools have explicit protections for students based on their gender identity. And nine out of ten of your member schools have LGBT resource centers to proactively make their schools safe and welcoming for LGBT people.
BYU, conversely, actively and openly discriminates against its LGBT students and staff. It provides no protections for LGBT students. In fact, through its policies, BYU is very clear about its intent to discriminate against openly LGBT students, with sanctions that can include suspension or dismissal for being openly LGBT or in a same-sex relationship. The LGBT climate is so bad at BYU that it is ranked the 6th worst school in the country for LGBT students. Given BYU’s homophobic, biphobic and transphobic policies and practices, BYU should not be rewarded with Big 12 membership.
BYU’s anti-LGBT policies are bad for the Big 12 sports community, especially student-athletes.
The Big 12 is known for its dedication to its sports community (fans, coaches, staff and players, etc.) and its commitment to the welfare of its student-athletes. BYU’s membership to the Big 12 would jeopardize both. First, LGBT coaches, players and fans who attend and/or compete at any Big 12 events hosted at BYU would be subject to discrimination since BYU remains exempt from Utah’s LGBT nondiscrimination law. Moreover, any student-athlete who identifies as LGBT, and subsequently selects BYU due to its Big 12 membership, would be subjected to BYU’s unabashed discrimination. This would endanger the student-athlete’s NCAA eligibility and mental health. The Big 12’s sports community, especially its student athletes, deserve better than this.
BYU’s anti-LGBT policies violate both Big 12 guidelines and NCAA guidelines.
All Big 12 member schools have to comply with NCAA guidelines. The NCAA requires schools to comply with Title IX. As an institution that openly discriminates against transgender students, BYU is not in compliance with Title IX. As such, it not only violates NCAA’s membership guidelines, but it also violates the Big 12’s commitment to gender equity.
The Big 12 is a conference committed to sportsmanship, fair play and inclusion both on and off the playing field. You are known for your dedication to fans and your commitment to the welfare of your student-athletes. Adding a school like BYU to your membership while it still champions anti-LGBT policies and practices would greatly undermine these Big 12 values.
Campus Pride is the leading national educational organization for LGBTQ and ally college students and campus groups building future leaders and safer, more LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. The organization provides resources and services to thousands of college students and nearly 1400 campuses annually. Learn more online at CampusPride.org.