SDSU Headed to Kansas Despite Travel Ban

Andy Berg Headshot

The San Diego State University men’s basketball team says it’s going to Kansas regardless of a California law that prohibits state-funded travel to places with discriminatory legislation.

SDSU Athletic Director John David Wicker said the NCAA is sending his team to Wichita on Sunday to compete in the annual NCAA men’s basketball tournament.  The 11th-seeded Aztecs drew sixth-seeded Houston on Thursday at Intrust Bank Arena. “We have no control over it. There are funds other than state monies we can utilize to pay for things,” Wicker told The San Diego Union Tribune.

The NCAA will cover the Aztec’s hotel, flights and meals. Schools are allowed to bring additional personnel but must pay for it themselves. Additional funds will be pulled from a private account and the Mountain West Conference will contribute $100,000 to pay for additional expenses. “We’ll use private dollars or fundraising dollars to pay for everything, then get reimbursed,” Wicker said. “We’re not spending money out of regular operational budgets.”

Kansas is one of eight states (The others: Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee) that California included in Assembly Bill 1887, which bans state-funded travel to those states on grounds that they have enacted legislation that is discriminatory against gay, bisexual or transgender people.

From AB California's Travel Ban Could Impact College Athletics

The law was enacted a year ago, but the California attorney general hasn’t yet issued an opinion on how athletic departments at state universities should proceed. Up to this point, schools have been operating under the assumption that travel to the banned states is legal so long as private funds are used to finance the trip.

Despite the new law, the Aztecs have been able to keep their commitments in the banned states. In December, the Aztec’s football team played in the Fort Worth, Texas, and this past weekend a pair of track and field athletes competed at the NCAA Indoor Nationals in College Station, Texas.

The executive director of Equality California, which sponsored AB 1877, said the law wasn’t intended to impact the careers of student-athletes. “Our hope,” Rick Zbur said, “is that one of the things this does is results in tournament and conference games not being sited in these states, that California schools will use their advocacy efforts with the NCAA ... These games shouldn’t be occurring in these states. We want to send a message to these states that there is a cost to passing laws that are targeting our community.”

Buyer's Guide
Information on more than 3,000 companies, sorted by category. Listings are updated daily.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide
AB Show 2023 in Baltimore
AB Show is a solution-focused event for athletics, fitness, recreation and military professionals.
Nov 1-4, 2023
Learn More
AB Show 2023