The NCAA has said it is monitoring similar legislation in about two dozen states. The organization has had policies in place since 2011 that allow for transgender people to participate in sports.
Dave Zimbeck, a lawyer for the organization that hosts NCAA tournaments in Sioux Falls, warned lawmakers that the ban would jeopardize the city’s chances of hosting future competitions. He said NCAA tournaments rake in millions of dollars for the city and that losing them could lead to the departure of up to 100 full- and part-time jobs.
North Carolina, which passed a bill discriminating against transgender people in 2016, lost out on billions of dollars after sporting events and businesses shied away from the state.
That same year, the South Dakota legislature passed a similar bill, which would have banned transgender people from using bathrooms and locker rooms that matched their gender identity. But former Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, vetoed the bill after meeting with transgender people, who he said helped him see the issue “through their eyes.”
Transgender advocates who demonstrated outside the governor’s mansion in Pierre on Thursday said they have been trying to get Noem’s attention, but so far have been unsuccessful. A group of about a dozen people marched from the governor’s mansion to the Capitol, chanting “Transphobia has got to go,” and “Let kids play.” Several people driving by honked and waved in support, but slurs and insults were hurled from another car.