As bills limiting the rights of transgender individuals advance in state legislatures, the NCAA released a statement Monday expressing that its board of governors “unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports.”
The NCAA statement comes as states such as Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee have passed legislation aimed at blocking transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports, amid other limitations. Similar bills are under consideration in dozens of states.
In its statement, the NCAA said that it 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,” the statement reads. “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.”
While the NCAA made no formal announcement regarding whether it would consider pulling championships from states with anti-trans laws on the books, the statement made an indication that it would consider such a move.
“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,” the NCAA statement says. “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.”