HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) – College baseball is affected by a Mississippi law that lets government clerks or private business people cite their own religious beliefs to deny services to same-sex couples.
The Sun Herald first reported the University of Southern Mississippi was supposed to play three games in Hattiesburg in late February against Stony Brook University. The games were canceled because New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned all non-essential state travel to Mississippi after Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the law in 2016.
Instead of playing in Hattiesburg Feb. 23-25 against the team from Long Island, New York, Southern Miss will play in a tournament at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas.
The Mississippi law, HB 1523, allows government officials and businesses to deny services, based on religious beliefs or moral convictions, to gay couples wishing to get married. The law was passed in October of last year.
A similar bill in Missouri, SJR 39, did not passed in December of 2016.
Mississippi head coach Scott Berry and athletic director Jon Gilbert were asked about the situation:
“I just hate losing the three home games,” Berry said. “I’m sure it’s going to cost us for sure. That’s three gates and everything that goes into a game day in terms of revenue.”
“I think the issue was we did not a have formalized contract for that series,” Gilbert said. “There was a former baseball staffer at the time who had ties to Stony Brook.”
Stony Brook’s associate athletic director of communications, Brian Miller told the Sun Herald Tuesday that staff members for both teams came to the verbal agreement that they would try to play the series again at some point in the future.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)