NCAA Clarifies Transgender Participation Policies

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The NCAA has established new guidelines for transgender student-athletes, clarifying on which teams individuals can compete.

The standards, years in the making and effective immediately, read:

A trans male (female to male) student-athlete who has received a medical exception for treatment with testosterone for gender transition may compete on a men's team but is no longer eligible to compete on a women's team without changing the team status to a mixed team. A mixed team is eligible only for men's championships. A trans female (male to female) student-athlete being treated with testosterone suppression medication for gender transition may continue to compete on a men's team but may not compete on a women's team without changing it to a mixed team status until completing one calendar year of documented testosterone-suppression treatment.

"I commend the NCAA's commitment to creating and supporting an inclusive culture that fosters equitable participation for student athletes," stated Helen Carroll, sports project director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which joined the Women's Sports Foundation's "It Takes A Team!" initiative in October 2009 to develop best inclusion practices and model policies for high school and collegiate athletic programs. "That core value is strengthened as the NCAA unveils this new policy that will not only allow, but encourage transgender student athletes to participate on athletic teams. This is truly historic, and it will give transgender student athletes equal access and opportunities to play college-level sports without any obstacles."

Moreover, the NCAA will provide resources for its membership, including the Inclusion of Transgender Student-Athletes resource book; a CD that contains the resource book; a slide presentation to educate administrators and student-athletes; and a 30-minute video featuring Betsy Crane, director of graduate programs in human sexuality at Widener University and a subject-matter expert on transgender issues.

"As a core value, the NCAA believes in and is committed to diversity, inclusion and gender equity among its student-athletes, coaches and administrators," NCAA director of inclusion Karen Morrison wrote in a memo to the NCAA membership. "Since participation in athletics provides student-athletes a unique and positively powerful experience, the goals of these policies are to create opportunity for transgender student-athletes to participate in accordance with their gender identity while maintaining the relative balance of competitive equity within sports teams."

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