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NCAA Issues Statement in Support of Transgender Athletes amid Discriminatory Bills

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVApril 12, 2021

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The NCAA issued a statement Monday supporting transgender athletes.

"The NCAA Board of Governors firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports," the statement read, in part. "This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition."

The statement comes amid lawmakers in several states proposing and passing bills restricting transgender athletes' participation in sports that align with their gender identity, per Lauren Holt of CNN.com. 

Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas have already passed bills that would remove the ability for trans girls to participate in girls sports. Per Holt, the ACLU reported 28 states are currently considering anti-trans bills related to sports participation or access to health care.

The NCAA has had a policy since 2010 to allow transgender women to compete.

"Our approach—which requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports—embraces the evolving science on this issue and is anchored in participation policies of both the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee," the organization said in its statement. "Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport."

The NCAA also indicated it could alter its selection of championship sites based on the passing of laws if they don't create an environment "free of discrimination."

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A group of advocates that includes Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve and forward Napheesa Collier and CeCe Telfer, who became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA title in 2019, called on the NCAA to withdraw athletic competitions from states that pass anti-trans legislation, per Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today.

"This is a moment of national crisis where the rights and very existence of transgender young people are under attack," Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David said. "This year, state legislative sessions mark the highest number of anti-transgender bills in history, more than 50, which target the ability of transgender athletes to participate in sports."

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