According to a teammate of University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, UPenn athletics or the university might sue anyone who prohibited Thomas, formerly known as Will Thomas, from competing in the upcoming NCAA women’s swimming championship.
One of Thomas’ teammates told Fox News, “I have a feeling that if USA Swimming changes their rules, they will be filing a lawsuit for Lia to swim, but they wouldn’t do that for us.”
The teammate told Fox News that she does not know if the university or if Penn athletics would file the lawsuit but said she “heard that from some of the administrators.”
“They’re just proving, once again, that they don’t actually care about their women athletes,” she continued. “They say that they care and that they’re here for our emotions, but why do we have to be gracious losers? … Who are you to tell me that I shouldn’t want to win because I do want to win. I’m swimming. I’m dedicating more than 20 hours a week to the sport.
She added, “Obviously, I want to win. You can’t just tell me I should be happy with second place. I’m not. And these people in Penn’s administrative department who just think that women should just roll over — it’s disturbing, and it’s reminiscent of the 1970s when they were fighting for Title IX and stuff like that. They don’t actually care about women at all.”
“Everyone sees us and everyone stands with us. It’s just a matter of trying to convince USA Swimming to do the right thing,” she declared.
“The administration didn’t even discuss the topic with us until after Ohio [Zippy Invitational] and after we already started getting a ton of media attention. They did not address us or ask us how we were feeling. … It was so maddening, just crazy that they didn’t have the foresight to talk to us sooner.”
She opined that the university acted as if “We’re here to support your feelings but not you. … They are basically saying that Lia swimming is a non-negotiable…They weren’t willing to actually help us, they were just willing to brush it under the rug and be [say], ‘oh, your feelings are valid.’”
“It’s really easy for the media and the administration to just focus on Lia and all the things that are hurting her and how she needs compassion right now, but I think we’re the ones who truly need compassion right now, and we’re the ones who are just being overlooked and told to just suck it up and deal with it and to accept second place. I think it’s wrong,” she asserted, adding, “When we came here, we were told we were going to have equal opportunities, and it just seems like our administrators and parts of society, very small parts, because I believe most people know it’s wrong, but that those people just think that we shouldn’t care about winning. And that’s wrong. You know, what message are you telling little girls? You’re telling them that they shouldn’t strive for first place, that they should be OK with second.”
She discussed the physical advantages Thomas has, saying, “It’s not just the difference between two girls and how one might have slightly larger lungs and that gives them a slight advantage…These are monumental advantages that biological males just develop through puberty, and it’s not something that a year of [hormone treatments] can suppress because they still have all the muscle mass they had from the last 20 years.”
“Thomas is eligible to compete on the women’s team under current USA Swimming rules that require a year of testosterone suppression. Under new NCAA rules, transgender athletes will be required to document testosterone levels to remain eligible, leaving Thomas’ eligibility for the NCAA women’s championships up in the air,” National Review noted, pointing out, “The new NCAA policy says that, by March, ‘Transgender student-athletes will need to document sport-specific testosterone levels beginning four weeks before their sport’s championship selections. Starting with the 2022-23 academic year, transgender student-athletes will need documented levels at the beginning of their season and a second documentation six months after the first. They will also need documented testosterone levels four weeks before championship selections. Full implementation would begin with the 2023-24 academic year.’”
The Ivy League Championships are scheduled for Feb. 16-18; the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships are scheduled for Feb. 24-27.