It appears likely politics won’t have an impact on one of the marquee matchups in the early portion of the 2018 college football schedule.
Friday, California officially announced that it had extended its ban on state-funded travel to the state of Oklahoma. The Golden State bars its workers from traveling to states California leaders believe are discriminatory toward gay and transgender people, a law enacted in 2016 that now extends to nine states.
In a press release, California’s Attorney General stated that a new law recently enacted in Oklahoma led to the ban.
“California will not use state resources to support states that pass discriminatory laws,” Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “The law enacted in Oklahoma allows discrimination against LGBTQ children and aspiring LGBTQ parents who must navigate the adoption process. California taxpayers are taking a stand against bigotry and in support of those who would be harmed by this prejudiced policy.”
So, what exactly does this have to do with college football? On Sept. 8 of this year, UCLA is scheduled to travel Oklahoma to take on the Sooners in Norman.
However, because the first game of that home-and-home series was scheduled in 2013, this year’s matchup is likely to be exempted from the ban. Last year, for example, UCLA traveled to Tennessee to play Memphis in football; Cal played at the North Carolina Tar Heels; and the Texas Longhorns hosted San Jose State despite all three of those states having already landed on the banned list.
That said, and even as it’s expected to, it’s not yet guaranteed that the UCLA-OU game this year will indeed go off as planned. From the Sacramento Bee:
Assemblyman Matt Harper, R-Huntington Beach, has asked Becerra’s department to issue a formal opinion on whether Low’s law applies to college sports. The department assigned an attorney to the question, but has not released a report.
In addition to Oklahoma, the Bee reports, “Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas [are] on the list of states where California public employees cannot travel for work-related purposes unless they are required to by a court, to investigate a crime, investigate a tax dispute or comply with a grant.”
Along with those exemptions listed at the end, schools in California’s public university systems are permitted to send their sports teams to postseason tournaments, including college football bowl games. Additionally, sports teams from states on the banned list are permitted to travel to California to play, regular season, postseason and otherwise.
After all, money y’all.