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NCAA silent on GOP governors’ call to exclude men from women’s sports

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has yet to publicly address a letter sent by nine Republican governors asking the group to rewrite its Transgender Student Athlete Policy to “protect, preserve, and encourage fairness in women’s athletics.”

Although the association’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports discussed the transgender athlete topic at its Dec. 11 meeting, and took some sort of “action,” according to a copy of the agenda, there have been no public announcements about any specifics.

NCAA’s media relations department has not responded to repeated requests for comment from The College Fix over the last month. The agency also has not posted any announcements on its media center website, nor published the safeguard committee’s meeting minutes on its website.

On Oct. 30, nine Republican governors sent a letter to the Committee on Competitive Safeguards asking its members to review and rewrite the policy that allows biological men to participate in women’s sports.

“The NCAA has the chance to guarantee an environment where female college athletes can thrive without the concern of inequities. We trust that you also want to guarantee just such an environment. But this policy allows the NCAA to avoid responsibility for ensuring the fairness of collegiate sports – therefore it must be changed,” the letter states.

“As former competitors, you understand the years of blood, sweat, and tears that it takes to succeed at a high level. Competing in sports has so many benefits. We learn grace in victory, poise in defeat, and the importance of teamwork in every aspect of life. For young women, Title IX guaranteed them an equal chance to compete,” it adds.

The letter references Riley Gaines, a former Division I collegiate swimmer turned activist for women’s rights in sports, who as an undergrad tied with a transgender athlete in a race.

“When Lia Thomas, a biological male, was allowed to compete in women’s swimming, Riley tied with Lia against all odds. Traditionally, when two swimmers tie, they both stand on top of the podium – but Riley was told that the trophy was going to be given to Lia,” the letter states.

“When Riley asked why she couldn’t stand for photos with the first-place trophy that she rightfully earned, she was given a series of non-answers that boiled down to ‘we just have to give it to Lia.’ …Riley’s lifetime of achievement was ripped away from her by someone who shouldn’t have even been in the race – all for a photo op.”

In a post on X, Gaines praised the governors’ effort, telling them to “keep the pressure on.”

As of June 2023, opinions resisting transgender athletes’ involvement in women’s sports have increased. A Gallup poll found 69 percent of voters believe that “transgender athletes should only be allowed to compete on sports teams that conform with their birth gender,” up from 62 percent in 2021.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, in a post on X, discussed why he added his name to the letter, stated “I promised to protect women’s spaces, sports, and opportunities for success. … It’s time the NCAA make the call.”

Additional signers of the letter include South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon.

“As governors of our states, it is our responsibility to care for our constituents, and we are doing all we can to protect the fairness of athletics in our states,” the letter states. “Now, it is time for the NCAA to do the same and make the best decision for all of your athletes.”

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Giovanna Johnson is a student at Gordon College in Massachusetts studying political science. She is a senior editor of the student publication The Gordon Review, and her writing has appeared on Future Female Leaders and her blog Sustained By Grace.