Stephen Groves/AP

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

On Monday, the NCAA made its most definitive statement yet regarding transgender athletes and the flurry of state-level bills seeking to ban them from organized sports. The association’s Board of Governors reiterated their “unequivocal” support for trans athletes. Taking a further step, the board even suggested that championship play would only happen in cities and states that are “free from discrimination.” It isn’t the NCAA pulling out of states with anti-trans bills yet. But it’s a signal they might.

“The NCAA has a long-standing policy that provides a more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports,” the statement says. They point out that their approach—since 2010 they’ve allowed trans women to compete as long as they’re taking testosterone suppressing drugs—is in line with both the international and U.S. Olympic committees’ regulations. “Our clear expectation as the Association’s top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect.”

Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee have all passed bills in recent weeks that would prohibit trans athletes from competing in women’s divisions. At least 20 other states are still considering similar legislation, including West Virginia, where an anti-trans sports bill is currently awaiting the governor’s signature. In South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem vetoed a similar bill—thanks at least in part to pressure from the NCAA—only to issue a series of executive orders that, in essence, do the exact same thing, but don’t explicitly reference transgender people. The bills are the latest iteration of the right’s moral panic over LGBTQ rights, complete with the (patronizing) claim that cisgender women need to be “protected” from their transgender peers. 

The NCAA has become one of the more vocal opponents of trans-exclusionary politics, dating back to a high profile boycott of North Carolina after the state passed its controversial “bathroom bill” in 2016. The bill likely cost the state billions in lost revenue thanks to business boycotts, including the NCAA. Nonetheless, the Association has also been criticized for its poor treatment of women athletes and belated response to the anti-trans bills. More than 500 NCAA athletes signed a letter to the NCAA president and Board of Governors earlier this year, calling out their silence on the issue. 

“The harm these bills will cause will be felt by generations of athletes to come,” they wrote. “Trans youth will not be able to play and excel at the sports they love, causing a ripple effect that will eventually remove an integral element of the diversity of college sport. Failure to speak up now will harm current and future athletes—perhaps irreparably.” 

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate