The U.S. House rightly passed a bill to preserve fairness in women’s sports, passing the baton to the U.S. Senate to follow suit. The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act affirms that Title IX protects against policies that allow males to compete in — and often dominate — female sports, ensuring that women and girls have a fighting chance to train, compete, and win on the field, on the court, and in the swimming pool.
As athletes that once reached the peak of our respective sports, we understand firsthand the incredible work and extensive training that go into making yourself the best competitor you can be. While we played different sports in different arenas, we both experienced the importance of fair competition and benefitted from equal athletic opportunities.
The chance to shine at the highest levels of college sports paved the way for an NFL career and subsequent dedication to serving communities and mentoring the next generation of leaders. And for teenage female athletes, athletics builds confidence and discipline and can open the door for scholarships, career options, and leadership opportunities that might not otherwise be available.
But those opportunities can be snatched away from young athletes when competition is unfair.
That’s why we’re profoundly and deeply concerned by the recent rise in policies that sideline women and rob them of medals, championships, qualifying spots, college scholarships, and the opportunity to compete fairly. Education officials and sports governing bodies are allowing men to compete in female sports by relying on subjective identity instead of biological truth.
We can no longer foster an environment of inequality by prioritizing feelings over fairness.
This is the denial of truth that many of our female athletes know all too well. When the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference adopted one of these policies, Alanna was forced to compete against two males who identified as female. She saw her hard work vanish when she stepped up to the starting line. No matter how hard she trained, she knew she was competing for second or third place — never the top spot.
As anyone who has competed in a sport knows, it’s demoralizing to walk out of the locker room knowing that you can’t win because the competition isn’t fair. But that’s just what allowing males to play in girls’ sports does.
Biology matters in athletics. Science tells us that males are generally bigger, faster, and stronger than females. They have larger hearts and lungs, denser bones, and stronger muscles. Similarly gifted and trained males will always have physical advantages over females — that’s the reason we have women’s sports.
Consider this: In one year, 275 high school boys ran faster times than the lifetime best of World Champion sprinter Allyson Felix. Despite dedicating her life and career to being the fastest woman in the world, Felix’s training couldn’t overcome high school boys’ physical advantages.
This science is backed up by basic common sense. It’s why despite living in an age of increasing political polarization, 62% of Americans believe that athletes should compete on sports teams according to their biological sex — including 41% of Democrats surveyed.
It’s also why there has been an unprecedented nationwide movement to preserve a fair playing field for female athletes. There is a broad and diverse nonpartisan coalition standing up for a level playing field for women and girls. In the last three years alone, 21 states have enacted protections for female athletes, with many more considering these protections this year.
Yet, the Biden administration has continued to attack the very law that has ensured for over 50 years that women and girls can enjoy equal opportunities in athletics. In seeking to rewrite Title IX to allow men to compete on girls’ teams, the Biden administration is ignoring biological reality, upending democratically-passed protections in the states, and harming women and girls — all in the name of a political agenda.
Congress enacted Title IX in 1972, empowering women and girls at schools across the country so they could enjoy the success and benefits that come with competing in sports. It’s time for Congress to step up and ensure women and girls can continue to access those opportunities for another 50 years. We urge the Senate to follow the House’s lead in ensuring girls have a future playing sports.
Burgess Owens was one of the first four black athletes recruited to play football at the University of Miami and played safety in the NFL for 10 years with the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders, winning a championship with the Raiders in Super Bowl XV in 1980. He’s the father of five girls and grandfather to 12 girls, and proudly serves Utah’s Fourth District in Congress as the Chairman of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee.
Alanna Smith is a track athlete at the University of Tennessee. During her high school career, she was forced to compete against male athletes and as a result, lost out on placements. She is part of the Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit, Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools, which seeks to protect the integrity of women’s sports and Title IX.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.