Will state of California’s travel ban affect bowls in Texas?


California has banned state-funded travel to Texas and seven other states. So what does it mean for college athletic teams – and are bowl trips in jeopardy?

Schools still are evaluating the potential impacts of last week’s announcement by California attorney general Xavier Becerra, which targets travel to Texas, Alabama, Kentucky and South Dakota, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

California no longer will permit its state employees to travel to eight states – officials already had prohibited state-funded travel to Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee – using public funds because of laws in those states based on sexual orientation.

So, what does the ban mean for football – particularly bowl games in Texas that have tie-ins to the Pac-12? For now, it’s not entirely certain.

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In Texas, two bowls – the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio and the Sun Bowl in El Paso – have contracts with the Pac-12, which has four teams based in California, including two public institutions (Cal and UCLA) that could be impacted. And in some years – including this one – the Cotton Bowl in Dallas may serve as a College Football Playoff game. Although private institutions, such as Stanford and USC, aren’t directly impacted, public schools such as Cal, Fresno State, San Diego State, Sam Jose State and UCLA are. Fresno, SDSU and SJSU are members of the Mountain West Conference.

There are ways around the ban. UCLA participated in the NCAA basketball tournament in Memphis – even though Tennessee was on California’s banned list – because the Bruins didn’t use state funds to travel to the game. Whether that same rationale would apply to a bowl game, rather than the basketball tournament, has yet to be officially determined, so it’s not yet clear how future bowls may be affected.

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As far as regular-season schedules are concerned, the ban doesn’t affect any existing contracts from before Jan. 1, 2017, so games already on the schedule are safe. Future non-conference schedules – in every sport – could be be affected, though.

Also not yet determined is the effect, if any, on coaches at California public schools when making recruiting trips out of state. UCLA’s spring football roster included eight players from Texas; California had seven.

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