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Tipsheet

More Female Athletes Are Calling on NCAA to Protect Women’s Sports

AP Photo/John Bazemore

Many Olympians, coaches, and swimming championship alumni sent a letter to the NCAA this week calling on the organization to “rectify” the situation allowing biological male swimmer Will “Lia” Thomas to compete against women

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The letter, obtained by The Daily Wire, was penned by University of Arizona alumni and signed by “the women of Arizona Swimming and Diving.” The Wire noted that it was signed by six-time NCAA Coach of the Year for University of Arizona Frank Busch and USA Swimming Team Director Dennis Pursley. This comes after Thomas, who competed on the men’s swim team at the University of Pennsylvania for three years, competed in the NCAA swimming championships this month and won a race against biological females.

“It’s hard to express the anguish the women’s swim community has experienced this past week watching the 2022 NCAA Swim & Dive Championships,” the letter opened. “On one hand, we feel we are witnessing irrevocable damage to a sport that has transformed our own identities for the better. On the other, we have reconnected with each other in sisterhood after many busy years living our lives beyond the water’s edge.”

The letter then delved into how biological males are given an unfair advantage over females when competing side-by-side in the same sport. Additionally, the letter points out that another transgender athlete, Iszac Henig, who is a biological female transitioning to be male, did compete against women. However, Henig would not have had an advantage competing against men that Thomas had competing against women. 

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“We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX this year. From the birth of the NCAA in 1906 until 1972, women had to fight to earn the law that provided equal opportunities for women in sports. It took a male to female transgender person one year to take the women’s swimming national championship title. This is not equality. Women’s standings, titles, records, and scholarships are suddenly at risk again. Opening the door to allowing natural born men to acquire precious, life altering financial aid packages often split up between multiple women per team defeats the very essence of the flagship legislation we are ironically celebrating this very year.

Female to male transgender athletes do not have the same opportunities as their male to female counterparts. They are heavily disadvantaged when it comes to earning a spot on the team they identify due to strength and speed differences between gender categories. This was represented this year in the 100 freestyle by Yale’s Iszac Henig, a transgender male competing at the women’s championship. This swimmer placed fifth in the event. Henig’s time of 47.52 earned the swimmer an All-American award and added 13.5 points to Yale’s team score. Had Henig chosen to swim at the men’s competition however, the same time would have failed to even reach the men’s A qualifying time of 41.71 by almost six seconds dashing the whisper of a chance this swimmer would even step up to the block.

There were many options the NCAA could have implemented to create a fair environment for women competitors. A trans athlete could compete in the meet that aligns with birth gender such as Henig did.”

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As Townhall covered, Olympian and Virginia Tech athlete Reka Gyorgy blasted the NCAA after she missed placement in the finals for coming in 17th place. The cutoff was the top 16. Had Thomas not competed against women, Gyorgy would have qualified for NCAA finals.

“The decisions of the NCAA this year hoped to appease everyone by allowing Lia Thomas to compete directly with women,” the letter stated. “Instead, the NCAA has successfully failed everyone.”

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