NCAA Took ‘Cowardly’ Route With Transgender Policy: Pro-Family Group President

NCAA Took 'Cowardly' Route With Transgender Policy: Pro-Family Group President 2019 NCAA Women's Final Four logo 2019 NCAA Women's Final Four logo. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 20 January 2022 02:53 PM

The "cowardly" NCAA chose to outsource its decision-making regarding transgendered athletes rather than choosing to do the right thing for women, the American Principles Project president said Thursday.

APP President Terry Schilling released a statement one day after the NCAA Board of Governors voted to adopt a sport-by-sport approach for transgender athletes, bringing the organization in line with the U.S. and International Olympic Committees.

"Faced with mounting pressure to address [transgender athletes], the NCAA has chosen the cowardly option of outsourcing its decision-making to other sports governing bodies,” Schilling said. "This is completely unacceptable.

"Responsibility for ensuring fairness in U.S. college athletics ultimately rests with the NCAA. They cannot shirk accountability for the ongoing destruction of women's sports, and we must not allow them to.

"The NCAA should reverse course immediately and do the right thing for women athletes by ensuring they do not have to compete against biological males in their sports."

NCAA rules on transgender athletes returned to the forefront this fall after University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas began smashing records. She was on the men's team her first three years, but has competed for the women's team this season after transitioning.

"The NCAA knows it has a problem," Schilling began his statement. "As the recent controversy over Penn swimmer Lia Thomas has made clear to so many Americans, allowing biological males to compete as females makes a mockery of women's sports. It is unfair and demoralizing to female athletes, who are put at an inherent disadvantage. And it is only going to get worse over time."

Under the organization's new guidelines, transgender participation for each sport will be determined by the policy for the sport's national governing body, subject to review and recommendation by an NCAA committee to the board of governors.

When there is no national governing body, that sport's international federation policy would be in place. If there is no international federation policy, previously established IOC policy criteria would take over.

The APP seeks to make the family the most powerful, well-represented special interest group in Washington, D.C. It does so by engaging directly in campaigns and elections.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.