BOISE — In March, Idaho passed a law known as House Bill 500, which bans transgender women from competing in women's sports but is now causing controversy that could affect our local economy.
Over 400 athletes, both professional and college players, sent a letter to the NCAA Wednesday asking them to move the 2021 Men's Basketball Tournament games out of Idaho.
The letter stated, "This is the time for the NCAA to stand on the right side of history and support the rights of all athletes in Idaho to compete in the sports they love."
The NCAA released this statement today: "As we have previously stated, Idaho's House Bill 500 and resulting law is harmful to transgender student-athletes and conflicts with the NCAA's core values of inclusivity, respect and the equitable treatment of all individuals. Further, Board of Governors policy requires host sites to demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event."
The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is set to begin next March, but if they move out of Idaho, the impact on Boise would be significant.
"If it failed to come here, next year it would cost the city and the region upwards of 15 million dollars," said VP of Government and Community Relations, Matt Erpelding.
The small businesses would feel the most significant impact.
"Yes, not having the games itself is a really big hit to us. But, it's those small businesses, those mom and pop shops those little restaurants that really benefit from having thousands of people out and about after a basketball game," said Erpelding.
The NCAA Board of Governors is meeting in August to discuss what, if any, action they will take.