USA Today Editor Says NCAA Should Ban Christian University and Underdogs, Oral Roberts
By Movieguide® Staff
Oral Roberts University, a Christian college in Oklahoma, were underdogs heading into this year’s NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. However, the No. 15 ranked team broke tournament brackets after upsetting No. 2 Ohio State in the first round and No. 7 Florida in the next.
Back-to-back stunners propelled Oral Roberts to a matchup with Arkansas on March 27. They became only the second No. 15 seed in men’s NCAA tournament history to advance to the Sweet 16.
But not everyone is thrilled with Oral Roberts’ Cinderella run.
USA Today editor Hemal Jhaveri recently published an op-ed stating that the NCAA should disqualify ORU from the NCAA competition over its policies on sexuality.
The university is a Christian school founded by popular televangelist Oral Roberts and upholds an honor code that prohibits students from engaging in homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
Jhaveri claimed that “the university’s deeply bigoted anti-LGBTQ+ polices [sic] can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.”
“Now, as Oral Roberts gains national attention, the focus shouldn’t just be on their very good men’s basketball team, but on their prejudiced teachings and moral regressiveness,” Jhaveri wrote. “The NCAA has always been more about paying lip service to ideals of equality and inclusion than action, but Oral Roberts inclusion in the men’s tournament proves how little they actually care about those words, which are emblazoned on their basketball courts.”
Jhaveri said ORU LGBT stance should be “condemned by the NCAA.”
“The fact is, any and all anti-LGBTQ+ language in any school’s [policies] should ban them from NCAA competition,” the columnist argued. “However accomplished its young student-athletes are, the school is a hotbed of institutional transphobia, homophobia with regressive, sexist policies.”
Jay Maxson of Newsbusters called out Jhaveri and noted that attacks on Christian university beliefs in March’s annual tournament are nothing new.
“USA Today is obviously out of touch with the First Amendment and the right of religious liberty,” Maxson wrote. “Attacking the values of Christian universities is now an annual rite and ritual of March Madness media coverage.”
“During March Madness two years ago, Deadspin spewed the same kind of anti-Christian bigotry against Liberty University, the school they called the ‘most hateable’ in the Big Dance. Liberty lost in the first round of this year’s tournament and was spared of another brutal media assault,” he added.
As ORU prepares for another big game, Coach Paul Mills said that the team is thankful for how far they have made it in the most prominent college basketball tournament in all of the sports.
“[It is] a blessing to coach those guys in that locker room,” Mills said. “It’s a blessing to win. The experience that these guys will have, I don’t mean to come across as if we are content, but I am so happy for those players in that locker room.”
Mills, a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, is looking to lead ORU to another upset on Saturday.