Cal and Kansas had very preliminary discussions for a home-and-home, but new Kansas and California laws scuttled possibility

New Kansas senate bill, in combination with a 2015 California law that went into effect on Jan. 1, combine to kill preliminary discussions between Cal and Kansas for a men's basketball home-and-home series.

Originally reported as a cancelled women's basketball home-and-home, the Bay Area News Group has reported that it was in fact a men's basketball home-and-home deal that was sunk by a 2015 California law prohibiting state travel to the state of Kansas, because of a discriminatory religious freedom law.

“Cal said they couldn’t do it,” Kansas Athletics spokesperson Jim Marchiony told the Lawrence Journal-World, which originally reported confirmation from Kansas officials.

Contacted by BearTerritory, Marchiony went into further detail:

"Believe me," Marchiony said via e-mail, "to call it a 'negotiation' is a gross exaggeration.  We were having a very preliminary informal discussion with Cal about the possibility of a home-and-home series in men's basketball.  Cal told us they could not come to Kansas."

Cal Athletics officials did not confirm or deny any discussion with Kansas, but offered the following statement: 

We do regularly engage in discussions on scheduling opportunities with high-profile programs throughout the year. We also must remain in compliance with state law, including Assembly Bill 1887, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. AB 1887 prohibits use of state funds to pay for travel to restricted states as designated by the Attorney General, but does provide an exception to meet contractual obligations that were incurred before the start of the new year.

Cal Athletics has a long history of commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in both participation and employment in all of our daily activities and events. Supporting a welcoming environment is an essential part of the fabric of our department as we strive to promote the principles of tolerance and respect for all.

The California law (AB 1887) prohibits state travel (i.e., travel funded by the state, which covers college and university employees for academic conferences, and intercollegiate athletics) to states with laws that are deemed discriminatory to the LGBT community. States with laws that fit into that definition have been passed in Kansas, Mississippi (HB 1523, which allows businesses, individuals and religious organizations to deny service due to any "sincerely held religious belief"), North Carolina (HB2 -- the "bathroom bill") and Tennessee (HB 1840, which allows mental health professionals and counselors to turn away LGBT patients). It was in response to HB2 that California originally enacted AB 1887.

The Kansas legislation (Senate Bill 175) allows student groups to discriminate against those who do not share the group's religious beliefs, and allows bans of gay students from joining a group due to its religious beliefs.

Cal and Kansas had a home-and-home set in 2009-10 and 2010-11, with the Bears losing at Phog Allen Field House, 84-69, on Dec. 22, 2009, and then playing host to the Jayhawks on Dec. 22, 2010, in a 78-63 loss at Haas Pavilion.

Upcoming football games scheduled at North Carolina (2017) and Mississippi (2019) are not affected because they had been scheduled prior to Jan. 1 of this year. Top Stories