The head coaches of the teams heading to Indianapolis for the NCAA Tournament's Final Four games together on Wednesday responded to the controversial 'religious freedom' law in Indiana.
"Each of us strongly supports the positions of the NCAA and our respective institutions on this matter -- that discrimination of any kind should not be tolerated," the statement, tweeted by the NCAA, read.
The men, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, Kentucky's John Calipari, Wisconsin's Bo Ryan and Michigan State's Tom Izzo, said they would discuss the issue with each other and their teams and said college basketball plays an important role in promoting diversity.
Each of the institutions had released previous statements regarding the controversial law, in addition to the NBA, WNBA (and their respective franchises in the state), NASCAR and MLB. The NCAA expressed concern with the law in a statement last week.
Signed last week by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, when it takes effect July 1, would allow businesses and individuals to cite religious beliefs if sued by a private party. Critics say, however, that it could lead to discrimination, specifically towards the LGBT community. Pence dismissed this criticism in a press conference on Tuesday, but said he wants the state's legislature to add an amendment clarifying that the measure does not allow businesses to discriminate.
The NCAA is headquartered in Indianapolis with the Final Four games set to take place on Saturday. Winners of the two games will face off in the championship game, also to be held in Indianapolis on Monday.
Read the coaches' full statement:
We are aware of the recent actions in Indiana and have made a point to talk about this sensitive and important issue among ourselves and with our teams. Each of us strongly supports the positions of the NCAA and our respective institutions on this matter -- that discrimination of any kind should not be tolerated. As a part of America's higher education system, college basketball plays an important role in diversity, equality, fairness and inclusion, and will continue to do so in the future.
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