NCAA Board of Governors to Discuss Transgender Participation Policy in Meeting Next Week

Lia Thomas - NCAA

NCAA Board of Governors to Discuss Transgender Participation Policy in Meeting Next Week

While the University of Pennsylvania and the Ivy League have recently issued statements in support of transgender athlete Lia Thomas racing in women’s events, the NCAA has been quiet on the matter up to this point. Thomas, who recorded the fastest times in the nation in the women’s 200 and 500-yard freestyle in early December and recently competed in her senior meet for Penn, followed all NCAA rules regarding her eligibility as she underwent more than one year of hormone therapy before competing in women’s events.

Initially, the NCAA did not respond to multiple inquiries from Swimming World regarding the fairness of its transgender policy and of Thomas competing as a female and also whether the organization was considering changes. However, the NCAA provided a short statement Friday that indicated it would at least consider the issue.

“The Board of Governors will review the NCAA transgender participation policy at its meeting next week and will issue a statement at that time,” an NCAA spokesperson wrote in an email.

It is unclear if the NCAA is considering changes to its rules that would impact the upcoming championships season in swimming or if such late changes are even allowed. Regardless, the organization’s take on the current situation with Thomas will undoubtedly be revealing.

Also Friday, a leaked 2020 letter resurfaced that showed the NCAA was made aware that controversy regarding transgender athletes could arise. The letter, signed by more than 300 female athletes, encouraged the NCAA to take action to avoid future disputes. The organization leaked the letter to Outsports in August 2020 in an effort to expose the signatories as anti-trans.

In other news relating to Thomas, multiple top American swimmers weighed in last week on whether she should be eligible for NCAA competition, including 2021 Olympian Erika Brown and 2016 Olympian Jacob Pebley, while 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps shared his thoughts in an interview with CNN. Phelps stressed the importance of an even playing field, which he believes he never experienced as an athlete because of doping, but he acknowledged the importance of “being comfortable with who we are within our own skin.” Phelps acknowledged the complexities surrounding a tough issue n the sport

“It has to be a level playing field,” Phelps said. “That’s what sports are. I don’t know where this is going to go. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I think we all should be comfortable with who we are within our own skin, but I think sports should be played at an even playing field. I don’t know what that looks like in the future. It’s hard. Honestly, I don’t know what to say. It’s very complicated.”


  1. avatar
    season. Of female swimmer

    Make a league just for the transgender athletes so they can’t take away times and records for the natural born sex.

  2. avatar

    I wholeheartedly agree. some guy who just decided to be a girl “yesterday“ should not be competing in women’s sports. Women have been fighting for years to be treated fairly now we have men pretending to be women breaking girls record at every sport. At all levels. If you need to take hormones to become a woman then you are not a woman end of story and if that is the case then you are in “transition “ There should be events specifically for those individuals . The 50 yard swim for females , 50 yard swim for males and the 50 yard swim for transgender’s. Might make the meets a little longer but whatever . Frankly I don’t see any reasonable transgender person that would have a problem with that unless you were overly concerned about breaking records and beating ‘real’ girls times. Ttransgender‘s have made a point of making them separate from either sex . they have various pronouns or whatever that are politically correct to use or not to use . OK fine so have your own identity also on the athletic field. They seem to be the ones that are labeling people so let’s go with it who has what. It’s a proven fact that men are superior physically in every way to women so why is this happening? Where is the NCAA on this? Obviously women have to fight this battle on their own because the male athletes are not threatened at all with their records being broken and their hard work being for nothing. They are very confident that any woman that wants to transition to a male doesn’t have a shot in the dark breaking any record in fact she can compete with the other transgender‘s all things being equal it should be a fair fight. . You’re talking about girls have swim and run for 15 years for the opportunity to get in a good school getting a scholarship and then preempted by some guy who decided yesterday he wants to be a gal what a joke. Is everyone too afraid to tell these people that you are just not women get over it. Your something else entirely so leave us women alone to continue with our lives . why does everything have to be a fight . The NCAA won’t even let a student athlete transfer from school to school without sitting out a year because
    there might be some “unfair’ advantage to the college and it’s winning record. Women want to go to a school that is good for their career path and also have a decent coach. Finding a good male coach for a girls team has been an issue since the dawn of time. Soccer being one of sports that Women always have to be up against it . That’s an issue at every level. For your kid you want a nice ffair guy that’s not a pervert.
    Conclusion get them off our field. Transgender‘s have no place competing against real women. I hope I don’t have to specify what “real ‘ means. For every transgender that gets in the college and gets in a team and breaks that record that’s one less girl that was deprived of an opportunity as most likely swam her whole life only to be blindsided this by this baloney. If you’re a real feminist and care about women’s rights you should be out raged that men have invaded our space yet again and deprived us of our God-given rights that we have fought so hard to preserve. We were only given the right to vote in the 1920s, title nine was also landmark that we had to take for us selves and fight for. These college swimmers, transgender’s who are beating the women’s records have no shame . if you want to be a real woman why don’t you get your MRS degree and find yourself a nice husband , get married and have kids. leave the Athletics to the real real woman put on have to pay for medical procedures and hormones Who “had it ‘ since she was day one and all she had to do was get in the pool get on the wrong track and train. no shortcuts for transgender’s period.

    • avatar

      I know it’s hard to comment and sound diplomatic if you’re a public figure because there’s a big backlash. But fortunately I am not. Something has to be done about this travesty not only for now but for future female athletes we need ‘real ‘ role models. No female swimmer is going to be looking up to Lea Thomas? Or is it Will Thomas? It depends on the day ,please have mercy. . If My memory serves me correctly it was not long ago that East German female was stripped of her metals because she took steroids to enhance her performance and workouts. That seems like small potatoes now. She was still a female from beginning to the end. These boys are all in trying to be girls to win athletic events end of story. If that was not the case just finish school and compete in some Iron Man triathlons events then ride off into the sunset. i’m glad my children Whom I drove to swim practices and soccer practices 7 days a week as they worked hard to become good at their sport do not have to deal with this . In a time when we’re supposed to be sensitive to other peoples feelings and self-esteem this could be very dispiriting to any young kid who had a dream . My daughters idols were women and my sons idols were men I’d like to keep it that way thank you. I’m sure the transgender community will eventually come up with their own sports heroes and superstars they can look up to or maybe Will Thomas wanted to be just like Katie Ledecky but was looking for the easy way out.

      Can the “NCAA “ stop placating the minority and do the right thing. As a former female athlete, Who was able to take advantage of title nine, I am angry. I know there are a lot of them out there. Speak up for our children’s future. you can’t get arrested for having an opinion.

  3. avatar

    Thank you for pushing this. The NCAA is Settings women’s sports back by allowing this. Also the fact that Lia is still choosing to compete lends to her having ZERO integrity for the sport or biological women

  4. avatar
    Niall wood

    Have two options Open and biological women. Then everyone can compete.

  5. avatar
    R Allen

    It’s a mockery and a sham. Men are not women – not ever. It’s a disgrace that having only in these last 40 to 50 years women have accessed many more sporting fields and the right to compete at high level at all, to be thrown to the dogs now, just to placate men who already have their own category they could compete in. If trans identifying women were taking super strength hormones and taking titles and records away from men this would NEVER have got this far. Would have been banned immediately. Women will stand up and fight this one there is no other choice. Stand up or lose meaningful women’s sports.

  6. avatar

    It’s making people actually get angry at the trans community even though many don’t support men in women’s sports. It’s so clearly wrong & unfair. It’s a sinking ship and the NCAA really wont want to be on that ship when it sinks. It reflects appallingly on their policies. They might as well be advocating for doping.

  7. avatar

    Testosterone suppression doesn’t make a man a woman. Create an “open” category for trans-athletes.

  8. avatar
    Phil McLain

    Simple (not easy) solution. Males wishing to be female must have their external genitals removed to become as female as possible. Not doing that indicates they are taking advantage of their biology rather than rejecting it.

  9. avatar

    We compete against each others heart, minds, and bodies, not gender identities. Sex is a fairly clear category, gender and gender identities can be all over the map.

  10. avatar

    It seems like the NCAA has just kicked the bucket down the road. It is travesty that thousands of young girls’s civil rights have been denied because 2 biological men have decided to compete against biological woman. It is a travesty that the NCAA did not study the issue before they decided to allow this to happen. Are the members on the board blind? Just looking at the different built of a woman vs. a man it is apparent that just taking testosterone would not change the apparent strength of a biological man,
    You should be ashamed of yourself not looking out for the best interest of these woman by not finding a better solution.

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