INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA has taken a sport-by-sport approach for transgender athletes, aligning the organization with U.S. and international Olympic committees.
Under the new guidelines, approved by the NCAA Board of Governors on Wednesday, transgender participation for each sport will be determined by the sport’s national governing body policy, subject to review and recommendation by an NCAA committee. to the Board of Governors.
Where there is no national governing body, the policy of the international federation for that sport would be in place. If there is no international federation policy, the previously established IOC policy criteria would take over.
“About 80% of U.S. Olympians are current or former college athletes,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement. “This policy alignment provides consistency and further strengthens the relationship between college sports and the US Olympics.”
The NCAA policy is effective immediately, beginning with the 2022 Winter Championships.
NCAA rules on transgender athletes came to the fore again when Penn swimmer Lia Thomas started breaking records this year. She was on the men’s team her first three years, but is competing for the women this season after her transition.
The Board of Governors suggests that NCAA divisions allow additional eligibility if a transgender student-athlete loses eligibility due to the policy change. This flexibility is on the condition that they meet the new NCAA guidelines.
“We are steadfast in our support of transgender student-athletes and in promoting equity in college sports,” Georgetown President John DeGioia said in a statement. “It is important that NCAA member schools, conferences and varsity athletes compete in an inclusive, fair, safe and respectful environment and can move forward with a clear understanding of the new policy.”
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