(Indianapolis, IN, November 4, 2014)— A newly formed think tank of college, LGBT, sports, and religious leaders will convene today and tomorrow in Indianapolis to establish best practices and policies so college athletes and coaches can fully participate in their chosen sport regardless of religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.

Through the convening, “Seeking Common Ground: Creating a Respectful Athletic Climate for Athletes and Coaches of All Religious Perspectives, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity or Expression,” the think tank will develop the first-ever suggested guidelines so faith-based schools, public schools, and private secular schools across the country can provide inclusive and respectful athletic environments.

The think tank, comprised of leaders from faith-based colleges, public colleges, private secular colleges, LGBTQ organizations, religious organizations, and sports, will be led by Nevin Caple of Br{ache The Silence, Karen Morrison of the NCAA Office of Inclusion, Helen Carroll of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and Dr. Pat Griffin, professor emerita. University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Other participants include Mike Alden, Director of Athletics at the University of Missouri, Brent Childers, Executive Director of Faith in America, and Joe Bednash, Director of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation at Yeshiva University. By fall 2015, the think tank will publish its suggestions.

The think tank is made possible through a grant from the LGBTQ Sports Coalition. The coalition is a group of organizations, athletes, sports professionals, and advocates working to end anti-LGBTQ bias in sports. The meeting will be held at the NCAA National Headquarters.
“One of the great appeals of participation in collegiate sports is that student-athletes from diverse backgrounds and identities, including religion and spirituality, come together to compete as a team,” said Carroll, NCLR’s Sports Project Director. “When a team performs at its best, every individual is respected and the differences they bring to the competitive experience are valued enabling team members to focus more completely on achieving individual and team competitive goals.”

Added Griffin: “I am excited to be a part of this important discussion. Creating common ground in athletics for athletes and coaches of all religious perspectives, sexual orientations, and gender identities is all about respect and I think that is something we all understand regardless of our differences.”


The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.NCLRights.org

The LGBTQ Sports Coalition is an association of organizations and individuals committed to ending anti-LGBTQ bias in sports by 2016. It was formalized at the LGBTQ Sports Summit in Portland, Ore., in June 2013. Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/lgbtsportscoalition