The University Interscholastic League, a Texas governing body that regulates public school athletics, has been drawn into controversy regarding a policy enacted roughly a year ago through the popular vote of the state’s superintendents and athletic directors.
The policy requires that student-athletes compete in men’s or women’s sports on the basis of the sex listed on their birth certificate, rather than gender identification. Texas is one of only seven states that requires students to present a birth certificate in order to compete.
At the time the policy was enacted, LGBTQ advocates warned the UIL of the potential consequences, particularly with regards to Title IX and another UIL policy which allows athletes to participate while taking certain banned substances if prescribed for medical reasons.
The policy has recently been brought under scrutiny in the wake of Euless Trinity High School junior Mack Beggs’ 52-0 wrestling season. Beggs has gone undefeated and qualified for the girls’ state tournament while undergoing male hormone treatments.
Texas attorney Jim Baudhuin has been intervening in this trajectory, seeking injunctions before district and regional meets in order to prevent Beggs from competing while in the process of transitioning, insisting that the testosterone treatments give an unfair advantage.
However, his efforts have changed direction after learning that Beggs petitioned the UIL for permission to compete in boys’ wrestling, but was denied. Baudhuin told the Chicago Tribune, “The more I learn about this, the more I realize that she's just trying to live her life.”
Baudhuin’s new goal is to enact a rule change at the lower levels that mimics NCAA policy, which allows athletes transitioning from female to male to participate on men’s teams while taking testosterone, but not on women’s.
It is too late for a UIL policy change to affect Beggs’ senior wrestling season, as the process would require a committee to make the recommendation, which would then have to be considered and voted through by League, and as Texas politics lean away from such changes.
Chris Mosier, founder of TransAthlete.com, said, “Mack is challenging what people thought was a good policy. This very well may spark change from people just by seeing how the policy was not well thought out and this is the outcome of following the rules exactly as they are.”