New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order banning non-essential travel by state employees to North Carolina in response to the state's stance on transgender issues has forced the University of Albany’s varsity football team to sleep over 70 miles out of the state prior to its Saturday game, reports the Times Union.
On Saturday, the U-Albany Great Danes are ranked 19th in Division 1 FCS and are playing the 23rd ranked Elon Phoenix football team of Elon, North Carolina. As if a game on the road against a conference opponent was not challenging enough, the Danes are forced to sleep outside of the state of North Carolina because of the state’s former stance against transgender individual’s using the bathroom of their choice.
In 2016, North Carolina passed and signed into law a bill that required individuals to use the bathroom of their biological sex at birth, not the sex they identified by. In response, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo placed a travel ban for state employees and barred any use of state funds in the Tar Heel State.
Despite North Carolina repealing their original transgender bill and allowing transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their choice in March 2017, Gov. Cuomo still kept his executive order travel ban in place.
Because of that, the Great Danes are staying at a hotel in South Boston, VA, which adds nearly an hour and half to their commute. The team, to their credit, is taking the distance in stride saying it will not affect their game today, which kicked off today at 2:00 pm.
"All I know is that it's going to be an interesting weekend, but we're not going to let it faze us," redshirt sophomore quarterback Will Brunson said.
"It's definitely not beneficial," U-Albany senior fullback-tight end Anthony Manzo-Lewis said. Adding, "There's nothing we can do at this point. Suck it up, and that's all we can do."
The National Collegiate Athletics Association temporarily suspended scheduling national sporting events in North Carolina, but re-continued last April after parts of the 2016 transgender bill were repealed. In 2016, Governor Cuomo's ban forced U-Albany's mens basketball team to cancel their away game against Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
The governor has made no signs that he is going to lift his travel restriction any time soon.