ALBANY — Controversy brewed in the capitol on Thursday, as student athletes prepared to sit out national championship swimming events, in accordance with an Executive Order from the governor.
On Thursday, Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes (R-Caledonia) attended a press conference hosted by Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-Elma) calling on the governor to rescind Executive Order 155, that prohibits state-funded and state-sponsored travel to North Carolina, or make an exception for the SUNY student athletes who have qualified to compete at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Swimming Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Student athletes from SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Brockport and SUNY Cortland schools attending this competition will be forced to make accommodations in a neighboring state, resulting in longer travel times to the competition, additional costs and possible negative impacts on their performances.
“Our student athletes have worked hard and shown true dedication to be given this prestigious opportunity and, unfortunately, because of this executive order, they are at a significant disadvantage,” said Byrnes. “It’s time we put our political views aside and allow our student athletes to represent their universities and our great state on a national stage. I proudly stand with Sen. Gallivan and SUNY students to call on the governor to repeal this executive order or make an exception.”
Executive Order 155 was Gov. Cuomo’s response to North Carolina’s passage of HB2, a controversial “bathroom bill.” In response to the passage of HB2 in 2017, the NCAA imposed its own ban which has since been rescinded, allowing the state to host NCAA events.