The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Board of Governors says it “firmly” supports transgender athletes and will only hold championships in locations “free of discrimination.”
In a statement on Monday, the organization said, “The NCAA Board of Governors firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports. This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition.”
“The NCAA has a long-standing policy that provides a more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports,” the statement continued.”
The board went on to note that it “requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports.”
“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.”
Finally, the NCAA said, “When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination should be selected. We will continue to closely monitor these situations to determine whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants.”
The NCAA’s statement comes after the South Dakota legislature advanced legislation that would limit female sports teams to biologically female athletes.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem initially expressed support for the bill but later said she was sending it back to the legislature for style and form changes as she raised concerns about the legislation’s “vague and overly broad language” which “could have significant unintended consequences.”
During an appearance on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Noem defended her decision to not sign the bill as she said it would “only allow the NCAA to bully South Dakota.”
“It would put a law on the books that would allow the NCAA to take punitive action against our state, and we’re a small state, Tucker. We have had to fight hard to get any tournaments to come to South Dakota,” she said, adding, “When they took punitive action against us we would have to litigate, and legal scholars that I have been consulting with for many, many months say I would very likely lose those litigation efforts.”
Noem maintained that she was trying to “protect women’s sports.”
However, Janna Farley, the spokesperson for the ACLU of South Dakota, blasted the bill as she argued, “We don’t need to have discrimination like this codified into law.”
Noem later signed executive orders designed to limit female sports teams to biologically female athletes as she said, “Only girls should play girls’ sports.”
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