Lynx's Cheryl Reeve, Napheesa Collier Urge NCAA to Advocate for Transgender Athletes

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 9, 2021

PALMETTO, FL - AUGUST 31: Napheesa Collier #24 and Head Coach, Cheryl Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx smile during the game against the Los Angeles Sparks on August 31, 2020 at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve and forward Napheesa Collier urged the NCAA to take action in states that have passed or are considering anti-transgender sports laws.

ESPN's Katie Barnes reported the NCAA Board of Governors is meeting Friday to discuss the nationwide legislation aimed at preventing transgender women from competing in women's sports.

"What's really harming women's sports is an overall lack of investment, whether in resources for female athletes, opportunities to coach [or] lack of pay," Reeve said. "The notion that the motivation for transgender athletes is to gain scholarships or competitive advantage is a false narrative. Trans inclusion makes our sports, our teams and our communities stronger."

Collier added the NCAA shouldn't allow states to prevent transgender student-athletes from playing college sports.

"I consider transgender women my teammates, not a threat," Collier said. "The NCAA has to take action and withdraw all athletic competition from states considering harmful anti-transgender sports bills."

The West Virginia state senate and house of delegates passed a bill Thursday that would prohibit transgender women and girls from playing on college or secondary sports teams, per CNN's Devan Cole. Arkansas, Mississippi, South Dakota and Tennessee previously passed similar measures.

Anti-transgender sports laws are being considered in over 30 states, per Barnes.

CeCe Telfer, who became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA title in 2019, asked the NCAA to "do more" to support transgender athletes during a Human Rights Campaign press conference:

"As a former NCAA athlete, I definitely want to thank the NCAA and commend them for how they treated me as an athlete ... but we are definitely asking the NCAA and you guys to do more. ... As a trans athlete ... I'm not a threat to women's sports because I am a woman. ... The joy and beauty of finally embracing myself and being in a sport that I love and being on that line with the women I'm supposed to be with, it's enlightening. And being an athlete has prevented me from many things, from many distractions, from harming myself. ... Athletics is a way for people to get out and get away from negativity and just breathe. And I really think that the NCAA can do more, and that's all that we're asking."

Telfer took first place in the Division II women's 400-meter hurdles as the 2019 track and field championships.

The NCAA released a transgender handbook in 2011 that noted the governing body is "committed to diversity, inclusion and gender equity among its student-athletes, coaches and administrators."

It laid out guidelines that explained transgender student-athletes could compete in sports depending on whether they'd undergone hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Reeve is a former college coach, including six years as a head coach at Indiana State, and Collier was a standout player at UConn before being selected by Minnesota in the first round of the 2019 WNBA draft.