The NCAA vows to ensure fair competition

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The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced a policy Monday that all but bans transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports at its 241 mostly small colleges across the country.
The NAIA Council of Presidents approved the policy in a 20-0 vote at its annual convention in Kansas City, Missouri.
The NAIA, which oversees some 83,000 athletes competing in more than 25 sports, is believed to be the first college sports organization to take such a step.
There is no known number of transgender athletes at the high school and college levels, though it is believed to be small.
The topic has become a hot-button issue among conservative groups and others who believe transgender athletes should not be allowed to compete on girls’ and women’s sports teams.
Shiwali Patel, senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, said her organization was outraged by the NAIA policy.
The Biden administration originally planned to release a new federal Title IX rule — the law forbids discrimination based on sex in education — addressing both campus sexual assault and transgender athletes.
The number of NAIA transgender athletes would be far smaller.


Transgender athletes are essentially prohibited from participating in women’s sports at the 241 mostly small colleges that make up the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, according to a policy that was unveiled on Monday.

In Kansas City, Missouri, during its annual convention, the NAIA Council of Presidents voted 20-0 to approve the policy. Approximately 83,000 athletes participating in over 25 sports are supervised by the NAIA, which is thought to be the first college sports organization to do this.

All athletes may compete in NAIA-sponsored male sports as long as they follow the transgender participation policy, which goes into effect in August. However, only athletes whose biological sex assigned at birth is female and who have not started hormone therapy are eligible to compete in women’s sports.

Exercise, practices, and team building exercises are all acceptable for a student who has started hormone therapy, but intercollegiate competition is off limits.

All students are welcome to participate in the NAIA competitive cheer and dance programs. Every other sport, according to the NAIA policy, “includes some combination of strength, speed, and stamina, providing competitive advantages for male student-athletes.”. “.

In an interview with The Associated Press, NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr stated that while he is aware that the policy will cause controversy, it was decided that member schools would benefit most from it due to competitive factors.

Carr stated, “We want to be respectful of all that. We know there are a lot of opinions and a lot of people have an extremely emotional reaction to this.”. But we are going down that route because we believe that fairness in competition is our main duty. We also did our best to enable some participation from everyone. “.

No transgender or nonbinary athlete was prohibited from participating in the regular season in the division of their choice by the NAIA’s 2023–24 policy. Athletes were required to compete in the division of their birth sex in the postseason, with a few notable exceptions for those who had hormone therapy.

Though the number is thought to be small, transgender athletes at the high school and collegiate levels are unknown. Conservative organizations and other people who think transgender athletes shouldn’t be permitted to play on women’s and girls’ sports teams have made the topic very popular.

The NAIA policy infuriated Shiwali Patel, senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center.

“In addition to harming trans, nonbinary, and intersex people, this is unacceptable and blatant discrimination that limits the potential of all athletes,” Patel said in a statement. It’s critical to understand that these discriminatory laws don’t improve the equity of competition. Rather, they propagate harmful stereotypes that harm women in general and send a message of silence. “.

In a federal lawsuit filed against the NCAA last month, over a dozen active and former collegiate athletes claimed that the organization that oversees over 500,000 athletes had violated their rights by permitting transgender athletes to participate in women’s sports.

Within hours of the NAIA announcement, the NCAA issued the following statement: “The NCAA will continue to support Title IX, make historic investments in women’s sports, and guarantee fair competition for all student-athletes in all NCAA championships. College sports are the premier stage for women’s sports in America.”. “.

Transgender women and girls are prohibited by law from participating in specific women’s or girls’ sports in at least 24 states.

In order to address both transgender athletes and sexual assault on college campuses, the Biden administration had originally intended to publish a new Title IX regulation. This law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in educational settings. The department divided them into different rules earlier this year, so the athletics rule is currently undefined.

Of the 241 NAIA schools, about 190 are private, and about 125 of those have varied degrees of religious affiliation, according to Carr. Seventeen of the twenty presidents who cast ballots attended universities with ties to Christian denominations.

“I think all of our Council of Presidents members are trying to think what’s best for the NAIA, but they certainly come to these kinds of issues with their own beliefs and the missions of their institutions in mind,” Carr said. “People have certain views of the world.”. “I believe that made a difference. “.

In addition to the state legislation, Patel stated that the NAIA ban “emphasizes the urgency in having clear Title IX rules that expressly prohibit this type of sex-based discrimination, and ensure the rights of all students, including transgender, nonbinary, and intersex athletes, are safeguarded.”. Transgender athletes ought to be allowed to compete. “.

Since 2010, the NCAA has imposed regulations on transgender athletes that stipulated that they must undergo testosterone suppression therapy for a full year and submit documentation of their testosterone levels prior to championship competitions. The NCAA updated its transgender athlete policy guidelines in 2022 in an effort to conform to national sport governing bodies, taking the U.S. s. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

The policy was implemented in three phases: before the regular season and championship events began, a hormone-level test had to be submitted; additionally, the 2010 policy, which mandated that transgender women be on hormone replacement therapy for at least a year, was to be continued.

Phase three of the NCAA policy will, following a postponement, be rolled out on August 1, 2024–25, for the academic year. It incorporates national and international sport governing body standards. 1.

About 1 point 8 percent, or 275,000, of the approximately 15 point 3 million public high school students in the US are transgender, according to a 2019 CDC study. Within that group, there are far fewer athletes; according to a 2017 Human Rights Campaign survey, less than 15% of transgender boys and girls participate in sports.

There would be far fewer transgender athletes competing in the NAIA.


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