To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has announced months of programming and celebratory events. These include a social media campaign recognizing Title IX “trailblazers” and a dedicated website filled with platitudes about progress in women’s sports, Title IX trivia, stickers, T-shirts, and resources.
But while the NCAA pretends to celebrate Title IX’s half-century milestone, the organization is actively subverting the 1972 landmark legislation responsible for the explosion of women’s college sports.
Last month, the organization that governs college athletics rejected pleas from the parents of female Ivy League swimmers to restrict women’s sports to biological females. The female swimmers have been forced to compete against male athlete Lia Thomas. Thomas, who stands more than six feet tall, previously competed on the men’s team as Will Thomas.
This year, as Lia, Thomas has shattered women’s records and threatens to break the Olympic records of some of our nation’s most celebrated female champions. The situation led female college swimmers and their parents to voice concerns about fairness and personal privacy to the NCAA and to a media that has largely downplayed their concerns.
But on Jan. 28, the NCAA reaffirmed policies prioritizing transgender inclusion over equal opportunity by placing responsibility for rule setting in the hands of each sport. Last week, USA Swimming followed suit, refusing to make eligibility to participate in the sport contingent on sex and instead encouraging the inclusion of male athletes who employ testosterone suppression. While it’s unclear what these new policies mean for Lia Thomas, they will still leave future female athletes sidelined.
Denying Science and Putting Women Last
The very notion that there is any way to create fair competition between post-pubescent males and females denies science. A comprehensive review of the scientific literature released last summer by Independent Women’s Law Center and Independent Women’s Forum revealed that hormone therapy does not eliminate the male athletic advantage over females.
Testosterone suppression cannot, for example, alter height, limb length, or other skeletal parameters. Also, although testosterone reduction removes some male strength advantages, males remain stronger than most females even after years of testosterone suppression. Scientists believe that any decrease in strength that can be achieved through hormone therapy subsequently can be made up by rigorous athletic training by an athlete whose testosterone is suppressed.
At least one major study indicates that transgender men maintain a significant advantage in speed over females after a year of hormone therapy. Indeed, two years after undergoing hormone suppression treatment, college athlete CeCe (formerly Craig) Telfer ran the indoor 200-meter dash in 24.45 seconds— faster than Telfer’s 2017 pre-transition time of 24.64.
Even if suppressing testosterone could completely eliminate the male athletic advantage, which it cannot, policies that make T-levels dispositive ignore equal opportunity considerations.
So long as male athletes are allowed to compete on limited-roster female teams, fewer spots on those teams (and, often, at the college itself) will be available for female athletes. Also, those female athletes who do make the team may get less playing time or scholarship money. So even with attempts to level the hormonal playing field, female athletes will still lose opportunities to compete.
In the case of Thomas, they’ve lost more than that.
Privacy at Issue
According to fellow University of Pennsylvania teammates, Thomas still has male body parts and is attracted to women. Yet Thomas still uses the women’s locker room, even though this makes some female swimmers extremely uncomfortable.
“Multiple swimmers have raised it, multiple different times,” one of Thomas’s teammates told The Daily Mail. “But we were basically told that we could not ostracize Lia by not having her in the locker room and that there’s nothing we can do about it, that we basically have to roll over and accept it, or we cannot use our own locker room.”
“It’s really upsetting because Lia doesn’t seem to care how it makes anyone else feel,” the swimmer added. “The 35 of us are just supposed to accept being uncomfortable in our own space and locker room for, like, the feelings of one.”
In any other context, forcing young women into close quarters with naked male genitalia would be regarded as sexual harassment. Yet the NCAA gaslights the victims into thinking that they are the problem. This is oppression of women masked in wokeness.
Title IX Window Dressing
In perhaps a not-so-subtle attempt to compensate for its misogynistic policies, the NCAA announced its plans to celebrate Title IX’s 50th anniversary just three days after reaffirming its policy requiring “inclusion” of male-bodied athletes in women’s sports. The kick-off included numerous platitudes about the value of female athletes and the need for continued progress in women’s sports.
“[W]e are taking this opportunity to celebrate, motivate, encourage and support women and everyone engaged in improving equity for all,” said Amy Wilson, managing director of the NCAA office of inclusion. “While progress is being made across intercollegiate athletics, including with our championships, the journey is not over.”
No, Amy, the quest for sex equality in sport is not over. But for the female athletes harmed by the NCAA’s misogynistic “inclusion” policy, the “journey” may have been cut short.