NCAA Board of Governers defends trans athletes

After Idaho passed a controversial law regarding transgender athletes, Hamline President Fayneese Miller voted in the NCAA board of directors on how to deal with it.

Jilly Wortman, Reporter

From the NBA shutting down their season due to COVID-19 to the US women’s soccer team fighting for pay equality, in the twenty-first century, much of pop culture looks to the world of sports to set the precedent on national issues. Now another hot topic faces the world of athletics: transgender athlete participation at a collegiate level. 


Back in March, Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed a law that banned transgender athletes, specifically women athletes, from participating in the state schools. This new law went into effect in July. As of now, this is the only state with this type of law discriminating against a group of student athletes.


This law goes against the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) as they responded with “Idaho’s House Bill 500 and resulting law is harmful to transgender student-athletes and conflicts with the NCAA’s core values of inclusivity, respect and the equitable treatment of all individuals.”


Many in the United States have had reactions to this news of Bill 500. California responded by banning all state-funded travel which will lose Idaho over ninety million dollars in revenue. 


There has also been a movement from fellow NCAA schools, over sixty civil rights organizations and many notable professional athletes like Billie Jean King and Megan Rapinoe. Their goal is to remove the first two rounds of the NCAA Men’s basketball championship because as the NCAA states, “The championships are open to everyone, and the Association is committed to assuring that its events are safe and healthy for all who attend.”


In addition to the fact the NCAA promised in 2016 that all championship games would be held in a discrimination-free atmosphere, the question now is whether  they’ll live up to that. There has also been a petition circulating colleges and universities hoping to gain support on the issue of removing championship games from the state of Idaho. 


On Oct. 28, Hamline University President Fayneese Miller, along with the rest of the NCAA Board of Governors, gathered for their regularly scheduled meeting. The NCAA reminded the board that the organization values a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and gender equity among its student-athletes, coaches, and administrators.


“We received a report from the science team on the topic of transgender athletes. The upshot is there is no evidence to support a belief that transgender athletes have a competent advantage in competitions,” President Miller said. “I would speak out if I felt as though there was not serious and thoughtful conversation and thought about transgender athletes and sports.”


As of now, there hasn’t been a decision about the NCAA first two rounds of the men’s basketball championship location. Most schools are focused on general COVID-19 restrictions. However, the petition is still in circulation and it is unclear how basketball will even look this winter.