The board of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) this week approved the requirement that cities bidding on NCAA events must adopt LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination laws.

The NCAA announced the new policy in a blog post on its website, saying that the decision “reaffirms the NCAA commitment to operate championships and events that promote an inclusive atmosphere in which student athletes participate, coaches and administrators lead and fans engage.”

“The higher education community is a diverse mix of people from different racial, ethnic, religious and sexual orientation backgrounds,” said Kirk Schulz, president of Kansas State University and chair of the NCAA Board of Governors. “So it is important that we assure that community – including our student-athletes and fans – will always enjoy the experience of competing and watching at NCAA championships without concerns of discrimination.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), applauded the move.

“The NCAA has sent a very clear message that unfair and unjust discrimination against LGBT people will not be tolerated by the association, and we hope lawmakers are listening,” said Griffin. “In order for cities to even qualify to host these major sporting events, they must now have commonsense, LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections. We commend the NCAA Board of Governors for taking this critically important stand in favor of fairness and equality.”

According to the News & Observer, North Carolina has hosted 17 NCAA events in the past two decades. A law approved earlier this month prohibits cities from enacting anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation or gender identity.