The NCAA is apparently ignoring national outcry over the inclusion of a biologically male athlete in the recent NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships, staying silent despite concerns from swimmers, parents, and the public at large.
The Daily Wire has repeatedly reached out to the association regarding testimony from fathers and swimmers who protest against Lia Thomas, a biologically male athlete, swimming in female races.
Despite highly publicized calls for action from Virginia Tech swimmer Reka Gyorgy and University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines — both of whom competed against Thomas and suffered for it, the NCAA has not responded to requests for comment.
Gyorgy placed 17th in the 500 freestyle, meaning that she did not make it back to the finals and was a first alternate. If Thomas, a biological male, had not participated, Gyorgy would have made it to the finals.
“I’m writing this letter right now in hopes that the NCAA will open their eyes and change these rules in the future,” she wrote in a letter to the NCAA that she released Sunday. “It doesn’t promote our sport in a good way and I think it is disrespectful against the biologically female swimmers who are competing in the NCAA.”
Gaines competed in the women’s 200 freestyle and tied for fifth place with Thomas. In an interview with The Daily Wire, she said she was made to hold the sixth-place trophy during award ceremony pictures, while Thomas was given the fifth-place trophy.
The swimmer believes that the NCAA was “trying to save face” in elevating Thomas in this situation, telling The Daily Wire that the experience was “disheartening” and that she “left the pool with no trophy.”
“Who are we trying to protect here?” she questioned, “and who are we trying to fight for here?”
The NCAA Board of Governors updated its transgender participation policy in January, requiring transgender athletes to document “sport-specific” testosterone levels within their sport’s approved range at the beginning of the season and ahead of championship selections.
“We are steadfast in our support of transgender student-athletes and the fostering of fairness across college sports,” John DeGioia, chair of the NCAA board and president of Georgetown University, said in a statement at the time.
“It is important that NCAA member schools, conferences and college athletes compete in an inclusive, fair, safe and respectful environment and can move forward with a clear understanding of the new policy,” he added.
But parents and athletes apparently do not find the move bold enough.
Linnea Saltz, a former NCAA track athlete who raced against a biological man, is not surprised that the NCAA has preserved silence on the matter since she brought her concerns to the association in 2019 with little results.
“Here we are today still dealing with the same issues,” she said.
Saltz told The Daily Wire on Thursday that she hoped that seeing the “overwhelming amount of individuals” affected by the NCAA’s decision would prompt the association to “finally make a decision that protects these women.”
In the spring of 2020 I raced a biological male in NCAA DI track and field. I laid out for the @NCAA exactly how unfair this was. But it is spring 2022 and we have seen no change… pic.twitter.com/eD0CTW9qV6
— linnea ☻ (@linneasaltz) March 20, 2022
“It is pertinent that the NCAA listen to these concerns as they are the governing body that is supposed to protect these athletes,” the former track athlete added. “This new NCAA narrative of inclusivity is exclusionary to women in sports.”
Saltz insisted: “If the issue is not addressed now, then when? It is clear a decision needs to be made as the situation will continue to worsen and more individuals will become affected if not.”
The NCAA’s silence on the matter perhaps indicates that the organization hopes outcry will die down and concerns over the issue will be forgotten.
But parents told The Daily Wire at the championships in Atlanta that the entire meet was abuzz with concerns and qualms about fairness in women’s sports.
“If the NCAA continues to sideline women and the accomplishments of female athletes, Congress must hold them accountable,” Annabelle Rutledge, national director for Young Women for America, told The Daily Wire. “And as American citizens, we must be relentless in our support of female athletes, calling on the Administration to uphold Title IX, and engaging with our state and federal members to hold the NCAA to account.”