NCAA Announces Refusal to Host Championships in States That Regulate Transgender Athletes

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has declared that it will refuse to host championship games for college basketball in any state which has passed laws banning transgender athletes or requiring them to play on teams in accordance with their biological sex.

The move comes as several states have either passed or introduced banning or regulating transgender athletes from sports in public schools and colleges in the interest of protecting women’s and girls’ sports from unfair advantages enjoyed by biological males.

In a Monday statement from its board of governors, the nonprofit organization’s stated that it “firmly and unequivocally” including transgender athletes in college sports and allowing them to participate according to their gender identity.

The statement reads, in part:

The NCAA has a long-standing policy that provides a more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports. 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. Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport. Our clear expectation as the Association’s top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to ensuring that NCAA championships are open for all who earn the right to compete in them.

Because the NCAA only hosts games and tournaments in “locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination,” the statement continues, Republican-led states such as Mississippi, which recently became the first state to ban transgender athletes from girls’ sports, will likely be off the table.

As we reported last month, however, a commitment to this policy may leave the NCAA with slim options as over 30 states are considering bills that would protect women’s and girls’ sports from competition against biological males.

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