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Female Athletes Sue NCAA Over Transgender Policy

Plaintiffs say the NCAA is violating Title IX By 'promoting policies that deprive women of equal opportunities and safe spaces in collegiate sport'

Female Athletes Sue NCAA Over Transgender Policy

The NCAA is facing a lawsuit from more than a dozen college athletes who accuse the sports organization of violating their Title IX rights by allowing Lia Thomas, a biological male, to compete against women in the NCAA swimming championships.

In March 2022, Thomas (formerly known as “Will Thomas”) became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I title after Thomas won the women’s 500-yard freestyle. When competing against men, Thomas was ranked #462.

The University of Georgia is also named as a defendant in the suit because one of its schools, Georgia Tech, was the host of the 2022 championships.

Title IX is a commonly used name for federal civil rights law passed in 1972 which prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools or education programs that receive funding from the federal government.

According to the 156-page lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta, the NCAA is violating Title IX by “promoting policies that deprive women of equal opportunities and safe spaces in collegiate sport [which] appears to facilitate the NCAA’s goal of retaining control of the monetization of college sport.”

Sixteen athletes filed the lawsuit, which argues that the NCAA’s transgender policies have aligned with the “most radical elements” of the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) agenda on college campuses to further its goal of driving maximum revenue at the expense of women.

As argued in the court filing:

the NCAA has simultaneously imposed a radical anti-woman agenda on college sports, reinterpreting Title IX to define women as a testosterone level, permitting men to compete on women’s teams, and destroying female safe spaces in women’s locker rooms by authorizing naked men possessing full male genitalia to disrobe in front of non-consenting college women and creating situations in which unwilling female college athletes unwittingly or reluctantly expose their naked or partially clad bodies to males, subjecting women to a loss of their constitutional right to bodily privacy.

The lawsuit further states, “Title IX was enacted by Congress to increase women’s opportunities, therefore, no policy which authorizes males to take the place of women on women’s college sports teams or in women’s college sports locker rooms is permissible under Title IX.”

In a statement responding to the suit, the NCAA said, “College sports are the premier stage for women’s sports in America, and while the NCAA does not comment on pending litigation, the Association and its members will continue to promote Title IX, make unprecedented investments in women’s sports and ensure fair competition in all NCAA championships.”

Plaintiffs are asking the court for a declaration that the NCAA and the University of Georgia violated Title IX and the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.

The lawsuit also seeks to bar the NCAA from maintaining its policy of allowing biological men to compete against biological women, as well as to award damages to plaintiffs and cover their legal fees.

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