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Breaking the rules

(Illustration by Krieg Barrie)


Breaking the rules

For an NCAA championship, states may flout their own pro-LGBT travel bans

Charlotte, Nashville, and Wichita are hosting early-round games in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament—but LGBT advocates say North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kansas allow discrimination against LGBT persons on religious or other grounds.

A California law that went into effect last year prohibits the state’s public universities from funding or sponsoring travel to those purportedly discriminatory states. But if UCLA gains an invitation to the tourney, as seems likely, the Bruins will disobey the law by playing there, according to UCLA athletic department spokeswoman Shana Wilson.

The effect: absolutely nothing. California’s law provides no penalties for violators.

Since the NCAA supports the LGBT agenda, it’s somewhat surprising that Charlotte, Nashville, and Wichita are host sites: During the 2016-17 academic year, the NCAA moved seven postseason events out of North Carolina to express disdain for the state’s since-repealed “bathroom bill,” which required transgender persons to use public restrooms corresponding with the gender listed on their birth certificates. Nevertheless, this year’s venues are set.

California isn’t the only state to ban its public universities’ sports teams from traveling to states deemed anti-LGBT: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order forbidding “nonessential” travel to such states. Stony Brook, one of New York’s four public NCAA Division I universities, canceled an early-season baseball series at Southern Mississippi for that reason.

The cancellation of a nonconference baseball series didn’t make many waves. The NCAA tournament is different. California and New York legislators will have to decide: enforce their travel bans, even at the expense of national championships for their college sports programs, or come off as paper tigers?

Carbo (

Saving Bernie Carbo

Bernie Carbo was such a rule-breaker that some of his biggest moments in baseball are blurs he can’t recall. Years of marijuana, alcohol, amphetamines, pain pills, and sleeping pills will do that to you. He doesn’t remember striking out to end the 10th inning of Game 6 in the 1975 World Series—but he does remember hitting the big home run two innings earlier.

The Boston Red Sox were battling the Cincinnati Reds. Down three games to two, Boston needed a win to force Game 7. Down 6-3 with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Carbo pinch-hit a three-run home run. That made possible the iconic 12th-inning home run by teammate Carlton Fisk: Millions have seen the video of Fisk trying to “wave” his homer fair and rejoicing as it hit the foul pole to win the game for the Sox.

Carbo had been the Sporting News Rookie Player of the Year in 1970, but drugs and alcohol made him a journeyman. His career but not his troubles ended in 1980: Keith Hernandez implicated him in a federal drug distribution trial in 1985. Six years later he hit rock bottom: business failures, divorce, his dad’s death, his mom’s suicide, and his own suicide attempt.

Friends and former major leaguers got him help through the Baseball Assistance Team and took him to rehab. Then, in a hospital room with a Baptist minister, getting tested for what they thought was a heart attack, Bernie repented and professed faith in Christ. He worked his way through rehab and, despite some early setbacks, persisted in his addiction recovery.

Carbo and another former player in 1993 began the “Diamond Club Ministry,” a Christian organization that teaches hitting to young people and hosts an annual fantasy baseball camp in Mobile, Ala. —by D. Eric Schansberg, an Indiana University Southeast economics professor and a longtime baseball fan