Here’s some great news, just in time for the holy feast of Christmas: At the last moment before approving its new revised constitution, the governing board of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) added broad protection for Catholic and other religious colleges to continue participating in the college association.

The NCAA constitution still needs to be ratified by the membership on Jan. 20, but the draft they will be considering is much improved.

Just last week, with the desperate hope that sunlight might help disinfect the NCAA’s diseased constitutional revision process, I went public at the National Catholic Register with concerns raised by faithful Catholic and other Christian colleges. They have been struggling valiantly to defend against an earlier amendment to the NCAA constitution that seemed intended to push out religious colleges with traditional (i.e., truthful and rational) views of sexuality and gender.

By adding deliberately pointed language to its constitution — that colleges must “comply with federal and state laws and local ordinances, including respect to gender equity, diversity and inclusion” — the NCAA appeared to be stacking the deck against religious colleges, at least those colleges that have remained faithful to Christian tradition and have refused to violate the integrity of women’s sports and the sanctity of marriage and sexuality.

This was the result of lobbying by activists including the anti-Catholic Human Rights Campaign, which last month sent a letter to NCAA governors complaining that drafts of the constitution did not explicitly embrace gender ideology. Although the HRC complained about a few state and local laws that prevent biological men from competing in women’s sports, drafters of the NCAA constitution cleverly latched onto the much more extensive push by many states, counties, cities, and even the federal government to force gender ideology on schools and colleges….

In a surprising and exciting turnaround, the constitution approved by the governors on Thurs., Dec. 16, is very similar to what the religious colleges wanted and should be helpful in protecting their distinctive missions. It includes the language: “Consistent with the principle of institutional control, no provision in this Constitution should be construed to restrict or limit colleges and universities, public or private, from adopting or maintaining missions and policies consistent with their legal rights or obligations as institutions of high learning….”

The above comes from a Dec. 18 story in the National CAtholic Register by Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society.