University of Washington ‘should rescind the scholarship if they really care about women,’ Riley Gaines wrote
A transgender volleyball player and high school junior from California verbally committed to play for the University of Washington, which could make him the first known male recipient of a women’s Division 1 athletic scholarship.
If the university signs athlete Tate Drageset’s offer next fall, he would take one of 12 National Collegiate Athletic Association DI volleyball scholarships available for women at the school, Reduxx reported Wednesday.
An anonymous source whom Reduxx identified as “the parent of a minor player within the Southern California Volleyball Association (SCVA) community” expressed concerns to the outlet about “the steady escalation of Drageset’s participation in women’s volleyball,” according to the news outlet.
“As he got older, it became more obvious that something was off,” the source told Reduxx. “Anytime the subject of [Drageset] would come up EVERY PARENT from any SCVA team already knew about him. Parents look around before they speak in hushed tones. Some will wait to discuss until outside the gym.”
“Everyone is scared of how their child will be treated if they speak up,” according to the parent. “The stealing of positions and opportunities has been infuriating and so sad when you see how it affects the girls. There is no concern for their mental health or safety after being replaced.”
Former University of Kentucky swimmer and women’s sports activist Riley Gaines posted to social media about Drageset on Wednesday, writing that he is “stealing the already few opportunities for women at the collegiate level.”
Male takes women's volleyball scholarship at @UW … a soon-to-be Big 10 school
Stealing the already few opportunities for women at the collegiate level. How can he be proud?@UWVolleyball should rescind the scholarship if they really care about women. He can play with the men. pic.twitter.com/Dj7VcDWlW4
— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) December 13, 2023
Tuition at the University of Washington is $12,645 for state residents and $41,997 for non-residents for the 2023-24 academic year, according to the school’s admissions website.
The Los Angeles Daily News named Drageset, then a high school sophomore, in its “Daily News Girls Athlete of the Week” in November 2022. “Drageset had 23 kills, 10 digs and three aces for the Griffins in their first-ever appearance in the CIF State finals,” it reported.
Marshi Smith, co-founder of the Independent Council on Women’s Sports, told Reduxx that her organization knows “many of the girls [Drageset]’s playing against do not know that they are competing against a male.”
“There has been no consideration from his family to tell female athletes or coaches the truth,” Smith said. “They have not been transparent, so girls are repeatedly and unknowingly put at a disadvantage and not given the chance to opt out over increased safety risks.”
Smith is also a former NCAA champion, according to her X bio.
She told Reduxx that “the NCAA guidelines and the upcoming Biden Administration’s Title IX reinterpretations incentivize male athletes and their families to hide their sex from women and girls.”
“The only solution to provide women with fair and safe sport is to have a female-protected category with no exceptions,” Smith said.
Editor’s Note: This article’s headline has been updated to clarify that Tate Drageset has not been confirmed to play volleyball at the University of Washington.
IMAGE: Instagram screenshot