Texas Legislature Returns For Third Special Session AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 20: Demonstrators supporting restrictions on transgender student athletes are gathered at the Texas State Capitol on the first day of the 87th Legislature's third special session on September 20, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Following a second special session that saw the passage of controversial voting and abortion laws, Texas lawmakers have convened at the Capitol for a third special session to address more of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's conservative priorities which include redistricting, the distribution of federal COVID-19 relief funds, vaccine mandates and restrictions on how transgender student athletes can compete in sports. (Photo by Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images) Tamir Kalifa / Stringer
Tamir Kalifa/Stringer/Getty Images

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NCAA Changes Transgender Rules

It’s Friday, January 21st, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:

1) NCAA Changes Transgender Rules

The Topline: In a decision similar to that of the International Olympics Committee (IOC), the NCAA announced a new approach to the debate over transgender participation in sports. 

Quote Of The Day: “We need to protect women’s sports and the NCAA needs to make the right decision tomorrow and I think that’s probably to stop this right now, rethink it.”

– Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner

Hunter Martin/Contributor/Getty Images

NCAA

The NCAA announced Wednesday that the Board of Governors voted to adopt a sport-by-sport approach to transgender participation, mirroring the policy of the IOC. 

Each national governing body of an individual sport will determine the eligibility of a transgender athlete who wants to compete. If a sport does not have a national governing body, the sport’s international federation would be followed. The new policy begins with the 2022 winter championships. 

Regarding testosterone requirements, the NCAA said, “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.”

Context

The IOC said in November they are moving away from their testosterone testing approach and allowing each sport’s governing body “to determine how an athlete may be at a disproportionate advantage against their peers, taking into consideration the nature of each sport.”

While the IOC is going away from their previous methods, they do appear to allow for the testing of testosterone levels by individual governing bodies. So, once again, it will be up to each individual sport to make that determination. 

In November, transgender swimmer Lia Thomas smashed the record in the women’s 200 freestyle time and scored the second-fastest 500 freestyle time, with both times breaking Penn program records. Thomas then won the 1650 freestyle by 38 seconds, the 500 freestyle by 12 seconds, and the 200 freestyle by seven seconds. Following the dominant wins, some of Thomas’s teammates spoke out, revealing friction within the team. 

According to OutKick, one teammate who spoke out feared she would not be able to find employment after college if she shared her honest opinion.

Chip Somodevilla/Staff/Getty Images

2) White House In Damage Control After Biden Press Conference

The Topline: President Joe Biden held his first solo press conference in nearly ten months this week, where he faced questions on his handling of inflation, COVID, and foreign policy. Vice President Kamala Harris struggled to defend the President’s comments during a Thursday morning appearance on The Today Show. 

Quote Of The Day: “Did the president give the green light to Vladimir Putin to take a piece of Ukraine?”

– Savannah Guthrie to Vice President Kamala Harris

The Press Conference

President Biden has not spoken to the media alone in over 300 days. For much of the 2-hour press conference, he called names from a pre-approved list of reporters, but he still faced difficult questions. 

The president was also asked about the Democrats’ new election bill. He said if it was not passed, the 2022 midterm elections “easily could be illegitimate.” Many critics of the president said those comments were hypocritical given how he responded in the past to former President Donald Trump’s accusations of elections being illegitimate. 

The comments which drew the most attention came in regard to Russian and Ukraine. He said, “Russia will be held accountable if it invades. And it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and we end up having to fight about what to do and not do…”

That comment immediately drew criticism from people on both sides of the aisle. Ukraine’s President tweeted “there are no minor incursions and small nations.” 

Damage Control

The White House went into damage control mode on Thursday.  President Biden read a prepared statement trying to clarify his remarks, and Vice President Kamala Harris appeared on the Today Show in an attempt to further explain the president’s comments. 

Vice President Harris spoke with Savannah Guthrie, who pressed her to clarify President Biden’s comments on a few topics. Guthrie challenged Harris, which created tension. Guthrie also pressed Harris on the president’s suggestion that the 2022 elections could be illegitimate in some states.

The damage control continued when White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki made a rare appearance on Fox News, showing how the Biden administration appears to be worried about how the American people perceived the press conference.

Justin Sullivan/Staff/Getty Images

3) New 5G Tech Causes Airline Chaos

The Topline: While air travel has been disrupted by COVID-related employee shortages and winter weather, complications over new 5G technology are threatening to ground thousands of flights.

Quote Of The Day: “We were aware of a 5G issue. … We were not aware that the power of the antennas in the United States have been doubled compared to what’s going on elsewhere.”

– Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline

5G

In the past few months, chaos has erupted between Verizon and AT&T and the U.S. aviation industry over the safety implications of their latest 5G technology.

The root of the concern surrounds C-Band 5G, which relies on radio waves between 3.7 and 3.98 gigahertz. The aerospace industry is deeply worried that this radio wave could interfere with flight safety technology which relies on radio waves nearby in the spectrum.

If this type of interference occurred near airports in bad weather, pilots potentially wouldn’t be able to see runways or rely on altimeter gauges. In this case, they would be expected to land somewhere else or not take off at all.

The Debate

The telecom industry, specifically Verizon and AT&T, rolled out their new 5G technology on Wednesday, but have made multiple concessions in response to concern – including delaying a full rollout three times now.

The aerospace industry, including Boeing, Airbus, and various U.S. airlines have all expressed concern regarding the safety implications of the technology.

The federal government – the FAA and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, specifically – is in the middle of the back-and-forth.

Buttigieg wrote to Verizon and AT&T in December offering a “near term solution” for the co-existence of 5G deployment and safe flight operations, which the telecom giants first rejected before agreeing to delay as part of a compromise.

President Biden has also responded, thanking Verizon and AT&T on Tuesday for agreeing to temporarily delay deployment of 5G near airports.

International Effect

The president of Emirates said the airline wasn’t aware of the impact of the issues regarding the safety of flights within the United States until Tuesday morning.

He said they would be suspending some flights to the U.S., adding, “this is one of the most delinquent, utterly irresponsible issue subjects, call it what you like, I’ve seen in my aviation career.”

Japan Airlines has also suspended flights, as well as ANA and Air India.

Bill Clark/Contributor/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Other Stories We’re Tracking

Voting Bill

The Democrats’ national voting bill failed to pass the Senate on Wednesday night and Democrats were also unsuccessful in their attempts to eliminate the filibuster in a later vote.

Synagogue Attack

Two men in England were arrested Thursday morning as part of an investigation into the terrorist attack Saturday on a synagogue in Texas. Greater Manchester Police say the two men were questioned by UK counterterrorism investigators working with the US.

China

NBC News is not going to send announcers to attend the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in China over worries about COVID-19. The move comes amid concerns over cyber-security for athletes traveling to China. 

Theodore Roosevelt Statue

A bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt, which has stood prominently in front of the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan since 1939, was removed just after midnight on Thursday morning. The statue, which will soon reside in North Dakota, depicts Roosevelt on horseback, flanked by 2 figures, a Native American man and an African man.

Peloton

Peloton stock fell roughly 25%Thursday after reports surfaced that it would pause production of its high-tech bikes and treadmills. In an internal meeting, the company cited customer “price sensitivity” and “amplified competitor activity” as reasons for the falling demand. 

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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