May 19, 2024 8:31 pm

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NAIA bans transgender athletes from female competitions

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—In a unanimous vote, 25-0, on Monday, April 8, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Council of Presidents approved a policy mandating that only athletes assigned female at birth will only be allowed to compete in women’s sports for all of its competitions. It is the first national college governing body banning transgender athletes from competing in women’s sport competitions.

female competitions
SOURCE: NAIA Facebook Page.

According to its website, NAIA is “a governing body of small athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics.” Approximately 80% of its membership of 249 is private colleges.

The decision comes just over a year after the World Athletics Council announced on March 23, 2023, it will exclude male-to-female transgender athletes who have been through male puberty from female World Rankings competition, effective March 31, 2023.

World Athletics, formerly known as the “‘International Association of Athletics Federations” (or IAAF) is the world governing authority on competitions, standardization of technical equipment, and the official repository of all world records. The governing body was founded on July 17, 1912, in Stockholm, Sweden, following the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games.

This decision does not apply to competitions within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Currently, 16 biological women are suing the NCAA for letting transgender athletes both compete in female sport competitions and allowing them into female locker rooms. The key argument in their class-action lawsuit is that the NCAA “knowingly violated Title IX, the federal statute that guarantees equal opportunity for men and women in college education and sports,” the Independent Council on Women’s Sports reports.

Below is the complete NAIA policy, as released by NAIA on April 8:

Student-athletes may participate in NAIA competition in accordance with the following conditions:

A. Participation by students in sports designated as male by the NAIA: All eligible NAIA student-athletes may participate in NAIA-sponsored male sports.

B. Participation by students in sports designated as female by the NAIA: Only NAIA student-athletes whose biological sex is female may participate in NAIA-sponsored female sports. They may participate under the following conditions:

  1. A student who has not begun any masculinizing hormone therapy may participate without limitation.
  2. A student who has begun masculinizing hormone therapy may participate in:
    a. All activities that are internal to the institution (does not include external competition), including workouts, practices, and team activities. Such participation is at the discretion of the NAIA member institution where the student is enrolled; and

    b. External competition that is not a countable contest as defined by the NAIA (per NAC Policy Article XXV, Section A, Item 12). Such participation is at the discretion of the NAIA member institution where the student is enrolled.

An NAIA institution that has a student-athlete who has begun masculinizing hormone therapy must notify the NAIA national office. The national office will take the necessary steps to provide appropriate privacy protections.

This policy will be subject to review in light of any legal, scientific, or medical developments.

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