Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby issued a statement regarding the “religious freedom” amendment to Missouri’s Constitution:
“The Big 12 Conference and its member institutions support the rights of all individuals regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation. It is acknowledged that elected officials enact laws they believe reflect the desires of their constituents, however, as a Conference we will consider the impact of the Missouri Legislature’s action on current and future Big 12 events within the state.”
The Big 12 men’s basketball tournament was played at the Sprint Center last week. The tournament has been in Kansas City for 15 of its 20 years and is scheduled to be played at the Sprint Center through 2020.
Republicans in the Missouri Senate last week voted to amend the state’s constitution to allow certain businesses and organizations to refuse service to same-sex couples based on religious beliefs. If approved in the House, the proposed amendment would go to statewide voters later this year.
A similar law was signed in Indiana last year and was met with widespread criticism from groups, including sports organizations such as the Indianapolis-based NCAA. Those groups have the power to boycott the state.