Kye Allums: Latest News and Updates On Transgender NCAA Hoops Player

Bailey Brautigan@BBrautiganFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2010

Kye Allums: Latest News and Updates On Transgender NCAA Hoops Player

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    Kye Allums has become the first publicly transgendered student-athlete in NCAA history as Allums began to identify as a man.

    Allums is a junior who plays for the George Washington University women's basketball team, and says that he started to identify as a man during his sophomore year.

    Formerly "Kay-Kay" Allums, he decided to change his name to "Kye" and encourages people to call him a "he."

    So what do Allums' teammates and coaches have to say?

    And how does the NCAA accommodate transgendered student-athletes?

About Kye Allums

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    Born Kyler Kelcian Allums, Kay-Kay changed his name to "Kye," pronounced "KAI."

    Allums was born in Daytona Beach, Florida, and calls Hugo, Minnesota home.

    He has two brothers and a sister and is currently majoring in interior design.

High School

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    While attending Centennial High School, Allums earned three-time honorable mention Minnesota All-State selection and averaged 15.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.4 steals, 2.3 assists and 0.6 blocks per game as a senior in 2008.

    During that same year, Centennial High made it to No. 6 in the USA Today Super 25 rankings.


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    During Allum's freshman year, he missed the final 20 games due to injury but still averaged 3.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 13.7 minutes per game.

    Last season, as a sophomore, Allum started 20 of 26 games and averaged 7.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists in 24.9 minutes per game.

Setting Precedent

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    When Kyle Allums takes the court at the Best Buy Classic against the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, he will become the first openly transgendered student-athlete to play Division I basketball.

    Like it or not, Allums will have a place in history, and he will set the precedent for how the NCAA handles transgendered athletes in the future.

NCAA Policy

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    The governing body of intercollegiate athletics has no set policy when it comes to accommodating transgendered student-athletes, but after all the publicity surrounding Kye Allums, the NCAA will need to make some changes.

    Recently, the NCAA has been using a report issued by the National Center for Lesbian Rights called On The Team: Equal Opportunity for Transgender Student Athletes  in order to address situations similar to Kye's.

    This report provides recommendations for accommodating transgendered athletes with an emphasis on making sure that these students will have every opportunity to play free from discrimination.

Public Support

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    Allums told Outsports that he was shocked by all the attention he was receiving so soon after making his announcement.

    He said, "I didn't know what to expect. I didn't think this many people would find out or even care this fast. I thought it would take weeks or months, but in two days? I have people from Germany saying they had already heard about it and how they wish more people were like me or more people would be able to say something and it's crazy."

    Gender has become a gray area in so many different aspects of society, and the transgender community has Allums to thank for a big step toward acceptance.

Team Support

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    Allums told all the members of his team at George Washington about his decision, and he was met with overwhelming support.

    "Everybody's pretty much accepting of everyone on the team. Everybody is different. We're teammates, we're like family. It's a bunch of brothers and sisters. Everybody brings their life and issues to the family."

    In team sports, athletes do find another "family" in their teammates, and it is refreshing to see that Allums' GW family has been so accepting.

Support From Head Coach

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    After talking with his teammates, the time came for Allums to tell his head coach Mike Bozeman about his decsion.

    "I was gonna have to hide a piece of me that was really important,” Allums said. “All my teammates knew. I don’t like keeping things from coach; I’m a very open person. It got to the point where I decided I wasn’t going to go through a whole season with my coach not really knowing me, even though I knew it would probably make him feel uncomfortable"

    Unsure of how his coach would react, Allums tried to explain his situation as best he could, and to his surprise, his coach had this to say:

    "Why would you think I wouldn’t have your back?” Allums remembered Bozeman asking. “I’ve had your back through everything. Our relationship has grown from nothing to this, and now you think I’d just turn my back on you because you told me this? No. I love you and I’ll always be here for you."

    And then Bozeman released a public statement saying, "The George Washington University women’s basketball program, including myself, support Kye’s right to make this decision."

What Does This Mean For Allum's Eligibility?

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    This whole situation does present a burning question:

    Can a man play women's basketball?

    As long as Allums does not take testosterone while playing for George Washington, he will be allowed to play for the team.

    But he does plan to undergo gender reassignment surgery next summer before his senior season.

    "The only thing I can’t do is take testosterone,” Allums said. “And I don’t need that anyway. I probably naturally have more than some of the guys on the guys’ team. If I get surgery, it doesn’t affect my play, it doesn’t enhance anything, I’m just taking something off my body, like if I lost a finger.”

Good Luck, Kye!

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    Even though Allum's unique situation will not affect his eligibility to play basketball at GW, other issues do exist.

    For starters: The locker room.

    Washington D.C. law guarantees citizens the right to gender-specific restrooms and locker rooms, and the question of where Allums will dress for games could become an issue.

    But the university is determined to make the appropriate accommodations.

    Another issue is that of opposing fans and the potential for hurtful comments. For years, Allums has had to endure the taunts from fans calling him a "man," but I guess these fans didn't get the memo.

    Allums has identified as a man, so those taunts don't really get to him.


    Good luck this season, Kye!

    We'll all be rooting for you!