John Feinstein skipping Final Fours over NCAA’s lack of pushback on Texas gun laws

"There’s nothing I can do, say or write to turn the NCAA into an organization with moral standards."

On June 2, Washington Post columnist John Feinstein wrote a column advocating for the NCAA to move the 2023 Final Fours out of Dallas and Houston following the Uvalde massacre that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers unless Texas enacted “something resembling meaningful gun legislation.”

As he would later put it, “I knew two things for certain when I wrote the column: Texas wasn’t going to change its gun laws, and the NCAA was going to hide under a rock and do nothing. Sometimes you have to tilt at windmills.”

And so, Feinstein, the author of A Season on the Brink and Last Dance: Behind the Scenes at the Final Four, penned a column on Friday saying that he would not be attending the Final Four and noting that he probably won’t be at the 2025 Men’s Final Four in San Antonio either.

The 2025 men’s Final Four is scheduled for San Antonio,” said Feinstein. “That’s plenty of time for the NCAA to go back to politicians in Texas and say, “Pass some meaningful gun laws before the 2024 Final Four or we aren’t coming back.” That’s plenty of time for the board of governors to conduct ‘the most careful engagement with the membership.’

“Of course, it won’t happen. There’s nothing I can do, say or write to turn the NCAA into an organization with moral standards.”

The WaPo columnist doesn’t appear to be under the illusion that his personal absence will amount to much, but his larger point was to say that organizations like the NCAA are able to put their financial weight behind decisions such as this in order to enact positive change. In fact, the NCAA has done just that in the past, refusing to schedule major events in South Carolina until they removed the Confederate battle flag and moving events out of North Carolina after the passage of the “bathroom bill.”

However, as Feinstein notes, it doesn’t sound like the NCAA has the appetite for taking on gun laws, especially in a place like Texas.

After the NCAA said it had no intention of moving any championships because of a state’s gun control laws, I received a statement with [Georgetown President John J. ] DeGioia’s name on it: “The NCAA board of governors has indeed addressed important issues in the past, but any action to block states from hosting championships based on state’s gun laws require the most careful engagement with the membership.”

Translation: “We aren’t messing with the gun activists,” which is as true now as it is when I wrote it then.

[Washington Post]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to