SUNY championship swimmers are caught in the middle of a political debate between two states and fear they’ll be at a competitive disadvantage at the NCAA championship later this month because of it.
As News10NBC first reported last week, 10 swimmers and divers from SUNY Geneseo, two from the College at Brockport and one from SUNY Cortland have qualified for the NCAA swimming championships which are being held in Greensboro, North Carolina, later this month.
In 2017, Gov. Cuomo issued an executive order banning all state agencies, organizations and state-sponsored schools from non-essential travel and spending to the state of North Carolina.
Cuomo believes leaders in North Carolina have passed legislation that is discriminatory to those in the LGBTQ community.
“The governor has never had a son or daughter that qualified to be an all-American and so he has no idea how hard it is to get there,” says Mark Nasky, whose daughter, Nancy, is the captain of the Geneseo swim team.
The state determined that the student-athletes could compete in the NCAA championships but they cannot fly into or stay in the state of North Carolina; instead they’ll travel to Virginia, stay in a hotel there and commute more than an hour back and forth to the venue.
Last week, the student-athletes and alumni appealed to Cuomo, asking for an exception to the travel ban fearing that the commute time will leave them at a competitive disadvantage.
“These are New York state residents, New York state students, they are paying SUNY tuition, none of them are getting the Excelsior scholarship and so all of these students are trying to represent Geneseo, the State University of New York and New York itself in a positive light and I really would have hoped that would have opened communication,” says Clint Sugnut, a Geneseo alumni that started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the students to stay in North Carolina.