A columnist of USA Today called for the ban of Oral Roberts University (ORU) from NCAA competition, citing the Christian school's anti-LGBTQ+ policy.
In her article dated March 23, Hemal Jhaveri criticized ORU on its position against homosexuality, arguing that the school's Christian values and beliefs go against the NCAA's own "values of equality and inclusion".
"...as the spotlight grows on Oral Roberts and it reaps the good will, publicity and revenue of a national title run, the university's deeply bigoted anti-LGBTQ+ polices can't and shouldn't be ignored," Jhaveri said.
"Founded by televangelist Oral Roberts in 1963, the Christian school upholds the values and beliefs of its fundamentalist namesake, making it not just a relic of the past, but wholly incompatible with the NCAA's own stated values of equality and inclusion," she added.
The columnist continued by saying that the school's Christian policy on LGBTQ+ should be protested, describing it as "discriminatory and hateful."
"While the school has been soundly mocked on social media for its archaic standards of behavior and code of conduct that bans profanity, 'social dancing,' and shorts in classrooms, it is the school's discriminatory and hateful anti-LGBTQ+ policy that fans should protest as the Golden Eagles advance in the tournament," she said.
Further, she was offended that the school equates homosexuality to "occult practices" in its student handbook. She also pointed out about the college's requirement of its students to pledge against "any homosexual activity."
Jhaveri contended that ORU has the freedom to impose any standard of behavior in accordance with its Christian beliefs. But that as the school is gaining national attention through its basketball team, the issue of its teachings and morals should also be given focus.
She added that the college's stance on LGBTQ+ should be "condemned by the NCAA."
She also criticized NCAA for speaking about "ideals of equality and inclusion" but not putting it into action. She said that ORU's inclusion in the tournament proves that the association cares "little" about those ideals.
Moreover, Jhaveri stated that any school with anti-LGBTQ+ statements in its policies should be banned from the NCAA competition.
The columnist concluded by saying that the achievements of ORU's basketball team will not "obscure the dangerous and hateful ideology of its core institution".
According to Christian Headlines, the article garnered a number of negative reactions on social media.
One person called Jhaveri "naïve" because there are also Christian athletes playing on other teams who believe what ORU believes.
Another individual called the columnist's article as "Christophobic hate speech."
An ORU alumni also reacted saying that the article is "without merit."
The Daily Citizen wrote that Christians are already used to "being despised and rejected," reminding about the warning of Jesus that it should be expected from the world, but that believers must not take it personally, citing Luke 20:16.
The Oral Roberts Golden Eagles advanced to March Madness 2021's Sweet 16, after it celebrated an upset victory against the Florida Gators last Sunday. They are set to face the Arkansas Razorbacks in Indianapolis on March 28.