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College athletic conference bans biological men from women’s sports

‘You’re allowed to have separate but equal opportunities for women to compete,’ group’s president said

Leaders of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics on Monday voted to approve a new policy that bars biological men from women’s sports in what has been billed as the first national college governing body to make such a move amid growing concerns about transgender athletes in female sports.

The “Transgender Participation Policy” states it aims to support “fair and safe competition opportunities for all student-athletes.”

“Title IX ensures there are separate and equal opportunities for female athletes. As a result, the NAIA offers separate categories of competition in all sports except for competitive cheer and competitive dance, which are both co-ed,” according to the new policy.

“All eligible NAIA student-athletes may participate in NAIA-sponsored male sports,” the policy states. “Only NAIA student-athletes whose biological sex* is female may participate in NAIA-sponsored female sports.”

For biologically female athletes who have begun “masculinizing hormone therapy,” the policy states they can participate in activities that are “internal to the institution,” such as workouts and practices. They may also participate in external competitions that do not fall under the purview of NAIA events.

CBS Sports reported the association’s Council of Presidents approved the policy in a 20-0 vote Monday morning “after a December survey indicated widespread support for the move. The association’s previous policy only applied to postseason competition.” CBS added:

The NAIA is a national athletic governing body for 249 mostly small colleges across the country that are not part of the NCAA’s three divisions of competition. The membership is 80% private schools. This decision does not apply to NCAA competitions.

“We know there are a lot of different opinions out there,” NAIA president Jim Carr told CBS Sports. “For us, we believed our first responsibility was to create fairness and competition in the NAIA. … We also think it aligns with the reasons Title IX was created. You’re allowed to have separate but equal opportunities for women to compete.”

The NAIA is believed to be the first national college governing body to mandate that athletes compete according to assigned sex at birth.

In response to the development, the conservative Independent Women’s Forum posted praise on X: “Thank you, NAIA, for standing with female athletes & prioritizing their safety & equal opportunity. Women’s sports are for WOMEN.”

Now all eyes are turning to the larger, more popular National Collegiate Athletics Association to see if the decision will sway its leaders to make a similar move. Critics have contended that allowing biological men who identify as women to participate in female sports creates an unfair advantage and an unsafe environment.

“The NCAA, which is a separate entity to the NAIA, took the stance in 2022 that it would allow the national governing bodies for each individual sport to determine the eligibility of transgender athletes in women’s sports,” Outkick reported. “In other words, the NCAA is deflecting decisions regarding biological males participating in women’s sports to other decision-makers so it doesn’t get its hands dirty.”

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics policy takes effect Aug. 1.

Last month, the NCAA was hit with a lawsuit from 16 female athletes who say they were forced to compete against and share locker rooms with men. The federal lawsuit argues the NCAA’s rules about transgender athletes violate women’s rights under Title IX, The College Fix reported at the time.

MORE: NCAA leader resigns over transgender policy: It’s ‘massive, essentially authorized, cheating’

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.