A handful of states has already moved to change their laws to allow student athletes to receive compensation based on their name, image or likeness, including Louisiana, Florida and Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The National Collegiate Athletic Association Board of Governors announced Monday that it will hold NCAA championships only in locations that are free from discrimination against transgender student-athletes and welcoming of all participants.
The NCAA said in a press release that it “firmly and unequivocally” supports the participation of transgender student-athletes in collegiate sports.
The organization has a long-standing policy of including transgender participation in college sports by requiring testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports. This approach, according to a NCAA press release, “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 announcement came on the same day as Louisiana’s 2021 legislative session in which conservative Republican lawmakers have so far filed four bills that would restrict transgender people’s access to sports and health care in the state. The legislation follows a GOP trend from states such as Mississippi and Arkansas that have passed new laws prohibiting transgender girls and women from competing in sports leagues. The NCAA Men’s Final Four is scheduled to be in New Orleans in 2022.
“Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport,” the NCAA said. “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.”
Furthermore, when determining where championship games are held, NCAA policy dictates that the board should select only locations where hosts can commit to providing a safe and healthy environment that is free from discrimination.
“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,” the press release said.
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