Bucknell, Indiana U Among Top 10 Most Gay-Friendly Athletic Programs

Compete magazine and Campus Pride have released their list of the 10 most gay-friendly college athletic departments. And while some schools that made the grade are no-brainers, others are unexpected champs.

We kind of expected to see Stanford, Columbia and NYU make the list, which rated inclusion efforts, practices and policy implementation of nominated universities. They’re located in or near major urban areas with large LGBT populations.

And while they’ve all turned out some fine athletes, those universities aren’t really major players in the college-sports arena.

But Indiana University? Who knew the Hoosiers partnered with the school’s LGBT group, participated in Indianapolis Pride and had a special gay-fan appreciation day?

As Campus Pride rightly points out, IU is setting the standard for other Big Ten schools to follow.

Another school honored for its safe and welcoming environment was Bucknell in Lewisburg, PA, where junior Taylor Harris says his coming out to teammates on the diving team was “a wonderful experience.” “I think the fact that everyone has been so accepting has really helped us behave as a cohesive team. It is so much easier to compete knowing that you have your team behind you 100 percent.”

The list is part of Campus Pride’s Out to Play Project, which combats homophobia in sports and encourages LGBT and ally athletes to be out and proud. “LGBT students today are more out and vocal than ever before and those who are also athletes deserve to know which schools and which athletics programs will respect them for who they are,” says executive director Shane Windmeyer.

The other schools on the Out to Play List are Bates College (Lewiston, ME), Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME), Ithaca College (Ithaca, NY), Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, GA) and Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA).

Photo: Rick Dikeman