The NCAA and Living Your Core Values

By Jack Johnson, Destinations International 

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) says it will move their often-lucrative championship events out of US states that enact laws that discriminate against LGBTQ people. The warning was directed at US state lawmakers considering bans on transgender athlete participation in college sports.

The NCAA Board of Governors recently released a statement reiterating that it will select championship sites that are “safe, healthy and free of discrimination.” This is in response to the passage of four laws, and over 30 more bills under consideration, that bar transgender women from competing against cisgender (someone whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex) women in K-12 and intercollegiate sports.

The board’s statement echoed a position and policy created nearly five years ago, when the NCAA moved championship events from North Carolina after state lawmakers approved legislation that barred transgender people from using public bathrooms associated with the gender with which they identify. It also echoes the NCAA’s Inclusion of Transgender Student-Athletes Transgender Handbook they released in August 2011.

The new statement reads as follows:

The NCAA Board of Governors firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports. This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition.

The NCAA has a long-standing policy that provides a more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports. Our approach — which requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports — embraces the evolving science on this issue and is anchored in participation policies of both the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport. Our clear expectation as the Association’s top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to ensuring that NCAA championships are open for all who earn the right to compete in them.

When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected. We will continue to closely monitor these situations to determine whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants.

This is not new to the NCAA. In April 2010, the NCAA Executive Committee created their Office of Inclusion and labeled their commitment to diversity, inclusion and gender equity among its student-athletes, coaches, and administrators as a core value of the organization. The Office of Inclusion provides programming and education that sustains a foundation of “a diverse and inclusive culture across dimensions of diversity including, but not limited to age, race, sex, national origin, class, creed, educational background, disability, gender expression, geographical location, income, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation and work experiences.”

Whether you agree or not with the NCAA, I feel we all should respect that 1) they identified their core values, 2) they are living their core values and 3) they are staying true to them.

Core values are the root beliefs that a person or organization operates from. They are important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or bad and desirable or undesirable. These core values serve as broad guidelines in all situations. Your values determine your priorities. When you value something, you consider it important and worthwhile - and fund it. Values have major influence on behavior and attitude (or should!). And people tend to frame arguments, and the facts behind them, in terms of their own values, because values are where emotion and logic meet.

Destinations International has talked about core values quite a bit over the last two years. They are behind the concept of destination organizations becoming a shared value in each of their communities. We identified nine key values that we as an industry should be living. Be staying true to. Passion, awareness, transparency, inclusion, engagement, collaboration, innovation, stewardship, and relevance. They are the root beliefs the industry is (or should be) operating from. They inform us what is desirable. And they determine our priorities.

They also do one more thing. They provide a roadmap that leads to destination promotion being that shared value, that shared core value in each of our communities. And these nine core values help us build public support around a shared vision for the destination and support for the destination organization. More of this to come at this year’s Destinations International Annual Convention in Baltimore where we will walk you down the core values road.

About Jack:

As Chief Advocacy Officer, Jack Johnson manages the overall public policy operations at Destinations International including member advocacy education and training, development of destination tools and best practices, coalition work with peer organizations, industry research and related public affairs activities.  He also oversees the board governance, the Destination Management Accreditation Program (DMAP) and the DestinationNEXT (Assessments and Planning) Program. Johnson brings unrivaled experience developing innovative strategies, policy solutions and civic consensus for government, not-for-profits and small businesses.

Johnson has received numerous accolades including being named as one of Successful Meetings’ 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry in 2018 for his work on opposing travel boycotts and bans. Currently, his work around positioning destination organizations as a shared value in each of their communities and speaking with a new lexicon based on the emotion-driven by those values has made him one of the leading voices of the travel industry.

During his previous tenure with Choose Chicago, Johnson played a leading role in the extensive reforms of the McCormick Place Convention Center and the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, resulting in a new convention center operating model with both a travel industry and a citywide civic perspective. Johnson was integrally involved in the merger of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau and the Chicago Office of Tourism, resulting in maximizing their resources, unifying the message and embedding the organization into the city’s economic development strategy.