KAZ’S KORNER

TRAVEL BAN ON 8 STATES WILL HURT CALIFORNIA COLLEGE SPORTS

If there’s one thing I refuse to do with this Korner is to become involved with politics. But what I believe may be a legislative bill that could hurt sports is another issue.

Last Friday when the California state legislature banned state-funded travel to Texas and seven other states, it really got my attention.

The travel ban to the Lone Star State came about in response to the new Texas adoption law which the Californian political base say is discriminatory, according to an article that appeared in Saturday’s edition of the Houston Chronicle.

There’s a rumor going around Austin that Texas lawmakers may try to find a way to retaliate in their upcoming special session that begins July 18.

“California might be able to stop their state employees, but they can’t stop all the businesses that are fleeing over-taxation and regulation and re-locating to Texas,” Gov. Greg Abbott’s press secretary John Williams told the Chronicle.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick added, “Thousands of folks fled California’s high taxes and liberal attitudes to come to Texas in 2015. Overall, Texas gained over half million new residents from other states. In California, almost 700,000 people moved out.”

Last Friday Texas, Alabama, Kentucky and South Dakota were added to the travel ban, joining Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and North Carolina.

A light bulb went off above my head as I wondered how this travel ban will affect the many California state-funded colleges and universities in the future.

Although this ban doesn’t take effect until 2018, there are numerous events in which the participants are determined in-season.

“Two yearly bowl games with Pac-12 ties—the Valero Alamo Bowl and the Hyundai Sun Bowl—are played in San Antonio and El Paso and the Cotton Bowl will host a national semifinal at AT&T Stadium in 2018,” the article stated.

“While most California public schools have stated they will not schedule future games in the restricted states, some have skirted the ban by funding travel on their own.”

A lot is at stake for sports fans—from the championship dreams of California teams to the future of championship matches in Texas, the Fort Worth Star Telegram pointed out in its Sunday edition.

One of the big questions being pondered pertains to coaches of California public university teams and whether or not they are affected, because these coaches clearly need to travel to Texas because California teams regularly schedule games in Texas.

And the Lone Star State’s ample supply of talented athletes—especially football players—means that coaches from California frequently come here to recruit. Currently the football rosters at UCLA, the University of California at Berkeley and San Jose State all have Texans on them.

In addition, Texas is a regular host of NCAA postseason events that California teams regularly compete in. San Antonio is hosting the 2018 Men’s NCAA Final Four while AT&T Stadium in Arlington regularly hosts games in the College Football Playoff.

California school officials didn’t return requests for comment Friday, but they have said in the past that they don’t have any plans to keep its athletes out of postseason games in banned states, according to the Telegram.

The good news for Texas is that contracts that require travel and were signed before the travel ban went into effect can still be honored, which means the football game in Austin Sept. 9 between San Jose State at the University of Texas is still scheduled to be played.

However, California public schools may not be able to schedule future regular-season games in Texas for all sports if the ban stays in place. UCLA officials said they won’t plan any such games in the future.

There will be plenty of whining from the Left Coast when the weekly Associated Press Top 25 comes out in football and basketball and no California teams are listed because they have not played any of the best teams in the country that are sure to be located in one of the eight states where travel is banned.

And these alumni at California universities will really be crying when the bowl selection committee overlooks them for the same reason and the conferences lose all that lucrative television money. Don’t be surprised if these big-money alumni donors get this travel ban banned real soon.

I can see it now—UCLA vs. Nicholls State in the Crawfish Bowl.

KWICKIES…Jordan Spieth, who led the PGA Tour Travelers Championship for 71 holes and needed to make a three-foot putt to tie surging Daniel Berger at 268 and send the match into sudden death, chipped in a birdie from the sand trap to capture the $1,224,000 winner’s check last weekend.

Although the Houston Astros have been working without four starting pitchers until Saturday, they have managed to post a 13-9 record since Dallas Keuchel went of the disabled list on June 7 when the Astros led the AL West Division by 13 games. And going into yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) action, Houston still had a 13-game lead over the Texas Rangers and the LA Angels. They finished a seven-game road trip to the West Coast Sunday by winning six games and upping their major-league-leading record on the road to an amazing 29-9 after belting 15 home runs and averaging more than 6 runs per game on the recent road trip. The next best record away from home is the Washington Nationals with a 25-15 worksheet.

And while on the subject of the Astros, the front office apparently isn’t messing around with poor outings as two pitchers—starter Joe Musgrove and reliever Dayan Diaz—were shipped to AAA Fresno to work out their problems in less than 24 hours after their shoddy performances.

Last weekend Miami’s Ichiro Suzuki became the oldest player (43 years old) to start a game in center field since at least 1900. He surpassed Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson by a month.

Local LSU fans are happy about their Tigers baseball team making the championship round of the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The Bayou Bengals upset top-seeded Florida State and Oregon State twice and met Florida Monday night in the first game of the best-of-three series, but lost to the Gators 4-3.

President Donald Trump, the owner of 16 golf courses and three more under construction, has surpassed John F. Kennedy as the best golfing president, according to Golf Digest magazine. Trump’s membership fees range from $10,000 to $300,000.

JUST BETWEEN US…The sixth annual Earl Thomas III Football camp was another booming success despite the uncooperative weather last weekend as more than 700 participants eagerly went through the drills and exercises at West Orange-Stark High School. The free camp was exciting for the youngsters who came from as far away as Arkansas. A majority of the NFL players helping Thomas also were free safeties including Landon Collins (NY Giants), Budda Baker (Arizona), Kevin Byard (Tennessee), Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix (Green Bay), and Kenny Vaccaro and Rafael Bush (New Orleans).