NCAA updates policy on transgender participation, to let each sport set requirements

12:24 AM.

The NCAA announced a new policy on eligibility requirements for trans athletes on Wednesday.

The new requirements go into effect. The previous policy was based on hormone therapy requirements and was adopted in 2010.

The new policy comes at a time when athletes are being scrutinized. Ten states have enacted laws that restrict participation in school sports for trans athletes since 2020.

Lia Thomas, a swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, recorded two of the top times in the country in the 500-meter women's freestyle. Thomas would need to be in compliance with USA Swimming's criteria in order to participate in the NCAA Championships in March.

The USA Swimming did not reply to the request for details of its policy. The University of Pennsylvania did not reply to the request for comment.

John DeGioia, the NCAA Board of Governors chair and Georgetown president, said that the NCAA is steadfast in its support of trans student-athletes. 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.

In order to compete in the winter championships in 2022, trans athletes will need to have their testosterone levels documented, four weeks before the sport's selection of championship participants. The international federation's policy will be used if a national governing body does not have a policy. The International Olympic Committee policy will be used if the international federation does not have a policy.

Athletes will need to provide testosterone level documentation at three points, including four weeks before championship selection, during the 2022-23 season.

Chris Mosier, a duathlete and trans inclusion advocate, said that the update complicates the NCAA policy. Tracking compliance is going to be a nightmare for the NCAA because many NGBs have not created policies for trans athletes. There are many different standards for trans athletes.

Nancy Hogshead-Makar is a member of the Women's Sports Policy Working Group.

She said that the new NCAA policy sounded a lot like the old one. The board hasn't resolved the balancing between fairness, safety and inclusion. They failed women because they didn't prioritize fairness.

The IOC's approach is an attempt to bring the NCAA in line.

The NCAA president said in a statement that 80% of the U.S. Olympians are current or former college athletes. The relationship between college sports and the U.S. Olympics is further strengthened by this policy alignment.