NCAA Updates Trangender Participation Policy

Photo: Sports Illustrated

The NCAA has announced that it will be altering its transgender athlete policy.

This new system for transgender athletes will follow the same model as other sports organizations.

The NCAA said that if there were no international federation policy, they would follow previously-established IOC criteria.

“We are steadfast in our support of transgender student-athletes and the fostering of fairness across college sports,” said Georgetown University’s president and chairman of the NCAA board John DeGioia, in a statement Wednesday, announcing the change. 

Effective immediately, the Board of Governors voted on the new policy because it “preserves opportunity for transgender student-athletes while balancing fairness, inclusion and safety for all who compete,” as per a report. 

“It is important that NCAA member schools, conferences and college athletes compete in an inclusive, fair, safe and respectful environment and can move forward with a clear understanding of the new policy,” DeGioia added. 

Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA stated that the new policy moves collegiate sports in close proximity to Olympic standards.

“Approximately 80% of U.S. Olympians are either current or former college athletes,” Emmert remarked. “This policy alignment provides consistency and further strengthens the relationship between college sports and the U.S. Olympics.”

The International Olympic Committee recognized that testosterone levels have nothing to do with an athlete’s eligibility and has therefore changed its policy on transgender participation.

The IOC has encouraged other governing departments of various independent sports to take part in modifying the rules, and at the same time, offering assistance.

“Every athlete has the right to practice sport without discrimination and in a way that respects their health, safety and dignity,” the reformed rules said. 

“At the same time, the credibility of competitive sport — and particularly high-level sporting competitions — relies on a level playing field where no athlete has an unfair or disproportionate advantage over the rest.”

IOC medical and scientific director Richard Budgett said that instead of solely focusing on testosterone levels, it is essential to analyze more than just this.

“It’s important we broaden the evidence base. There is some interesting research that needs to come to conclusion, and that will give us much more information about performance which is the issue which is really key to determining eligibility,” Budgett stated.


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