As female athletes around the country are fighting to bar biological men from competing in their sports, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recently announced that it unequivocally supports transgender student-athletes.
The NCAA released a statement Monday, which stated that it “unequivocally” supports the transgender community and expressed no apprehensions about the very real prospect of biological men outcompeting women in their respective sporting events.
“The NCAA Board of Governors firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports. This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition,” the NCAA said.
The NCAA touted the highly debated conception of testosterone suppression as a valid equalizer for men competing in women’s sports. There is still no evidence to support the idea that said suppressors make the competition fairer for female athletes.
“The NCAA has a long-standing policy that provides a more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports,” the NCAA said.
“Our approach — which requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports — embraces the evolving science on this issue and is anchored in participation policies of both the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport. Our clear expectation as the Association’s top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to ensuring that NCAA championships are open for all who earn the right to compete in them.”
“When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected,” it concluded. “We will continue to closely monitor these situations to determine whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants.”
According to a recent study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine, biological men underwent a year of hormone treatment and still enjoyed a strong advantage over their female counterparts.
Though the researchers did say that two years of hormone treatment did show some positive signs for transgender athletes, they ultimately conceded that there is no possible way to completely eliminate biological advantage, given how the body develops during puberty.
Most recently, Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem stated that she would not sign a bill in her state protecting women’s sports from transgender athletes on the college level, citing possible reprisals from the NCAA.
“Unfortunately, as I have studied this legislation and conferred with legal experts over the past several days, I have become concerned that this bill’s vague and overly broad language could have significant unintended consequences,” Noem said in a letter to state lawmakers after vetoing the bill. “I am also concerned that the approach House Bill 1217 takes is unrealistic in the context of collegiate athletics.”
The ACLU recently tweeted that the NCAA would now be pulling events in states that have bills banning trans athletes from competing: “Today the NCAA confirmed it will pull events from states with bills banning trans students from participating in school sports. State lawmakers take note: discriminating against trans youth is wrong, against the law, and costly.”
Another Twitter user responded to the ACLU’s tweet: “The NCAA is boycotting any state that doesn’t allow trans-women to compete in women’s sports. This graphic shows opportunities girls lost out on because those opportunities went to trans athletes. Have a look, then let’s talk about making sports fair for girls.”