National LGBT organizations urge Big 12 Conference to skip BYU

Media Contacts:
Athlete Ally | Ted Rybka | | 347-705-9760
NCLR | Erik Olvera | | 415-365-1324

NEW YORK, NY (August 9, 2016) – Athlete Ally, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and 20-plus national LGBT organizations submitted a letter to the Big 12 Conference and its member schools urging it not to consider Brigham Young University (BYU) as a potential new conference member because of the school’s express policy of discriminating against same-sex couples and LGBTQ students.

The Big 12 Conference is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletic conference consisting of 10 Division I colleges and universities. Member schools are located in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia. Recently, there has been public discussion that the Big 12 is seeking to expand, with BYU as a leading candidate for inclusion.

BYU is located in Provo, Utah and according to the Princeton Review is the sixth worst school for LGBTQ students in the nation. Its policies requiring discrimination against LGBT students include its Honor Code, which prohibits “homosexual behavior” by students and staff. This “includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.”

Athlete Ally Executive Director and Founder Hudson Taylor believes BYU should automatically be disqualified from contention into the Big 12 Conference. “Brigham Young University’s treatment of its LGBT students and faculty show that its values are antithetical to the Big 12’s. It’s an honor and a privilege to belong to an athletic conference such as the Big 12; discrimination should not be rewarded.”

Added NCLR Sports Project Director Helen Carroll: “To maintain the solid reputation that the Big 12 promotes toward fostering a competitive and inclusive atmosphere for student athletes at every member institution, any consideration of an expansion including  Brigham Young University—a university whose policies expressly discriminate against LGBTQ students—would move the Big 12 far away from their core values of championing inclusion and fairness for all student athletes. Knowing these facts, it is imperative that the Big 12 reject any bid by the university for membership.”

The sign-on letter and a list of all organizations who support the recommendations can be found at
About Athlete Ally

Athlete Ally is a non-profit organization that educates and empowers the athletic community to take a stand against homophobia and transphobia in sports. Athlete Ally works with MLB, the NBA, WNBA, and NBPA on player development and LGBT inclusion. It also co-wrote the NCAA’s LGBT policies and resource guides and partners with over a hundred professional athletes and college campuses to promote LGBT equality and respect.

About National Center for Lesbian Rights

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.