INDIANAPOLIS - NCAA president Mark Emmert made it clear the association wouldn't tolerate discrimination and was willing to take its business out of Indiana if the state's religious objections law wasn't fixed to his satisfaction.
Whether he and the NCAA's leaders can take that stand in other states with similar laws is less clear - and its leaders acknowledge wading into social debates and state law is new and tricky territory for college sports' governing body.
Emmert's annual state of the NCAA address on Thursday came as the Indiana lawmakers were revising the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that has, in some ways, overshadowed the start of one of college sports' top events.
"Are we happy that this debate is occurring during the middle of Final Four week? Of course not," Emmert said.
Critics of the law feared it would lead to discrimination against gays and lesbians. Emmert said the law "absolutely, positively" needed to change. About an hour after his news conference at Lucas Oil Stadium, state lawmakers passed a fix that clarified discrimination wouldn't be tolerated.
Still, there are 20 other states that have similar religious objection laws on the books, and the NCAA has held events in some of those states. That raises several questions for the organization, and Emmert fielded them Thursday. Would it be willing to take its business out of a state that prohibits gay marriage, for example? Will it be willing to pull major events from a state with a religious objection law?
"I think it's something that we will once again have to talk about among the membership when our boards get together to discuss these issues and decide at what level should we become involved in civil debates inside these communities," Emmert said.