The governing body over collegiate athletics has a history of injecting their will into divisive social issues.

For 15 years, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has banned any national tournaments from being held in South Carolina because the State Capitol flew the Confederate flag.

And last year NCAA President, Mark Emmert, threatened to add Indiana to its list of “forbidden” NCAA national tournament states.

Indianapolis, Indiana was the site for last year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four when the state legislature was on the verge of passing the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Despite the threat, and liberal news media opposing the bill, Indiana’s governor signed the act into law last summer.

With the biggest college hoops event of the year just around the corner, both the NCAA and state legislators are squaring off again — this time in Missouri.

The Kansas City Star reports:

Kansas City gets its share of college sports championship events, most recently the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament. But officials say big events that bring millions to the local economy could be at risk if a proposed “religious freedom” amendment is added to the Missouri Constitution.

After catching wind of legislative acts or symbols of oppression, sports leagues fight back with the leverage they possess — the awarding of championship events, which can be huge economic drivers for a community.

That’s why Kansas City is concerned about the recent events in Jefferson City. Last Thursday, Republicans in the Missouri Senate voted to amend the state’s constitution to allow certain businesses to refuse services to same-sex couples based on religious beliefs.

Kansas City has used taxpayer funding in their bids to host NCAA Championships.

And according to the Kansas City Star, the city is set to host 14 NCAA Championships through 2017.

The cost-benefit ratio of cities using taxpayer funding for sporting events has always proved to spark a contentious debate in local politics across the nation.

Typically, politicians are quick to overestimate projected revenue, and even quicker to use press releases and photo-ops to promote their connection to tax-funded events. Opponents, however, immediately point to a mounting stack of case studies proving, more often than not, that taxpayers are on the hook for localities facing massive budget shortfalls.

But conversations over the economic impact have quickly turned into debates over Religious Freedom in Kansas City as the NCAA continues to make vague threats should Missouri legislators pass the amendment.

Big 12 Conference Commissioner, Bob Bowlsby, issued a statement regarding the controversial bill.

“The Big 12 Conference and its member institutions support the rights of all individuals regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation,” he said. “It is acknowledged that elected officials enact laws they believe reflect the desires of their constituents, however, as a conference we will consider the impact of the Missouri Legislature’s action on current and future Big 12 events.”

Still, twenty other states have versions of the same bill Missouri legislators are debating, and sixteen others have filed similar bills over the last two years.

That hasn’t stopped the NCAA from awarding tournaments to many of those states.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act seeks to allow individuals and businesses to legally assert that practicing their religion will be protected in any court of law against discrimination complaints.

The proposed amendment awaits approval from the Missouri House and will be sent to the ballot for voters to approve later this fall.