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UConn coaches won’t go to Indiana for Final Four

UConn coach Kevin Ollie and assistant coaches will not travel to Indiana for the Final Four this week.

UConn president Susan Herbst announced the decision Tuesday night in response to Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the travel ban for State of Connecticut employees issued by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Monday.

“In support of Gov. Malloy’s travel ban to the state of Indiana,” Herbst said in a statement released by the school, “Kevin Ollie and other members of the UConn men’s basketball staff will not travel to Indianapolis for the NCAA Final Four and events surrounding it. UConn is a community that values all of our members and treats each person with the same degree of respect, regardless of their background and beliefs, and we will not tolerate any other behavior.”

Malloy issued the ban on travel to Indiana for state employees on official business. The Indiana law is viewed by opponents as protecting discriminatory practices on the basis of sexual orientation. USC athletic director Pat Haden announced via Twitter Tuesday that he would not go to a scheduled college football playoff selection committee meeting, “as the proud father of a gay son.” NCAA headquarters is in Indianapolis.

Many college basketball coaches go to the Final Four every year to attend the National Association of Basketball Coaches convention and other events in the host city. The NABC convention runs in Indianapolis from Thursday through Monday. Ollie, who won the championship last season, and his assistants had planned to attend before Malloy’s ban.

Malloy, speaking to reporters outside his office Tuesday, said his travel ban makes exceptions where arrangements had already been made. “But if they don’t have to go, I hope they wouldn’t,” he said.

UConn officials and the Governor’s office discussed the options on Tuesday afternoon and evening before the decision was announced.

Senior guard Ryan Boatright is going to Indianapolis to participate in the State Farm 3-point shooting contest at Butler University on Thursday night, but his travel expenses are covered by the event promoter, Intersport.

Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie is shown during a game against SMU in the American Athletic Conference Tournament. AP PHOTO