Still, San Diego State’s men’s basketball team did, in fact, travel to Kansas last month to play on the tournament’s first weekend (the Aztecs lost to Houston in the first round in Wichita). And last year, U.C.L.A. played in the second weekend of the tournament in Memphis.
California’s public university teams have felt compelled to devise legal workarounds. The men’s basketball committee, which selected the 36 teams that received at-large bids to the N.C.A.A. tournament and seeded all 68 in the field, disregarded state travel bans, said its chairman, Bruce Rasmussen, the Creighton athletic director.
“We, unfortunately, do not control where we play in the tournament, and we will not deny our student-athletes the opportunity for postseason play,” Shana Wilson, a senior associate athletic director for U.C.L.A., wrote in an email. She confirmed that last year, U.C.L.A. used revenue generated by the athletic department — sources like ticket sales, donations and sponsorships, but not direct state funding — to pay for the Bruins’ trip to Memphis.
San Diego State, which is in the California State University system, used revenue from donations to finance the basketball team’s trip to Kansas in March, as well as its football team’s trip to Fort Worth to play Army in the Armed Forces Bowl last December, said Chuck Lang, a senior associate athletic director.
“We avoid going to them as much as possible,” said Lang, referring to the eight banned states.
San Diego State does not schedule nonconference road competitions against teams in those states, though Lang said other Aztecs squads had traveled to them “because we had to” for other N.C.A.A. championship events.