The College Football Playoff and SEC made statements Tuesday regarding Georgia’s controversial “religious freedom” bill.
The bill, in short, provides for lawful discrimination should a given organization choose to deny “social, educational or charitable services that violate such faith-based organization’s sincerely held religious belief.” Discussion of the bill by officials has clarified that it is a direct response to to approval of same-sex marriage by the Supreme Court.
Both organizations acknowledged they are monitoring the situation. The College Football Playoff said it would refrain from entering the discussion. The 2017 National Championship is set for the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
“We deplore discrimination wherever it occurs and note that there is a public debate about this matter and its implications, as well as whether or not it will become law,” College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock told CBS Sports in a statement. “We will keep an eye on this, but our group's focus is on sports and public policy matters are better left to the experts and voters to resolve.”
The SEC has held its title game in Atlanta since 1994, and said it would pay attention to the matter.
“Our conference championship events are an extension of our universities which are places of diversity and opportunity,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “We are attentive to this legislative matter as we continue our policy of considering numerous factors in determining sites for our championship events.”
The NFL, the Atlanta Falcons and the NCAA, among other organizations have also released statements on the matter establishing their commitment to fair treatment and inclusion.