SUNY Geneseo's swimming and diving team will abide by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's travel ban to North Carolina because of its bathroom bill, according to the college.
The governor issued an executive order in 2016 barring unnecessary travel to North Carolina, after the state passed a bill requiring people to use the public restroom that corresponds to their birth sex.
Ten members of Geneseo's swimming and diving team, as well as two from SUNY Brockport and one from SUNY Cortland, qualified for the NCAA Division III championships that are being held in Greensboro, N.C., on March 20-23. The teams are allowed to attend the national championships, but they cannot fly into or stay overnight in North Carolina. That means staying in Virginia, about an hour away from the pool.
A graduate of Geneseo and former member of the team, Clint Sugnet, did not want the athletes to be at a disadvantage to others staying minutes from the pool, so he started a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe to raise money so the team could stay "within a reasonable distance" from the competition.
The campaign raised $6,000 in three days, but it might not help the swimmers and divers in Greensboro.
"The college couldn't take that money or be involved in it all," said Gail Glover, chief communications and marketing officer for SUNY Geneseo.
She said Friday that travel arrangements were still being made but that the team would fly into Roanoke, Va., and it will be in compliance with the executive order.
But in an update on the GoFundMe page Friday, Sugnet said of the successful campaign: "We have secured the necessary funds to cover the team staying at a hotel within an adequate distance to the aquatic center in Greensboro. We are in the process of figuring out how the financial details will be executed."
State Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan, R-Elma, called on the governor to rescind his executive order, particularly since the original North Carolina law had been repealed.
“It is unfair to make a political statement on the backs and lives of these student athletes who have worked so hard to reach this level of competition. We should be celebrating their achievements, not punishing them for something they have no control over,” Gallivan said.
North Carolina rescinded the bathroom bill in 2017, but it also prevented localities from passing their own laws to allow transgender individuals to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity until 2020.
And so New York's travel ban remains in place, according to a top aide to the governor: "In New York, we do not support blatant discrimination, bigotry and bias. Standing up for equality is not a fad, and as long as this anti-LGBTQ law remains in effect, New York tax dollars are not going to be spent there."
Gallivan and a coach said the NCAA foots the bill for airfare, hotels and meals for the competition.