Athlete Ally, a national nonprofit working at the intersection of sport and LGBTQI+ equality, and LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD, responded to a letter from at least 5005 National Collegiate Athletic Association student-athletes sent to the NCAA Board of Governors.
The student-athletes are calling for the NCAA to uphold its nondiscrimination policy and publicly refuse to host championships in states with bans against trans athletes. Sports Illustrated (SI) originally reported the story.
According to SI, Idaho passed such a bill last year, while ones in Mississippi and South Dakota are awaiting governors' signatures. Similar laws in other states are expected to follow.
Athletes from at least 85 schoolsincluding Duke, Ohio State, Wisconsin-Madison, Harvard, Penn State, Michigan, Villanova, Yale, Virginia and Marylandsigned the letter.
Addressing NCAA President Mark Emmert and the NCAA Board of Governors, the letter stated, in part, "You have been silent in the face of hateful legislation in states that are slated to host championships, even though those states are close to passing anti-transgender legislation."
"All student-athletes should be safe and protected when competing in NCAA championships," said Aliya Schenck and Alana Bojar, track-and-field athletes at Washington University in St. Louis as well as Athlete Ally Campus Chapter co-presidents who spearheaded the letter. "Your silence on this issue is only allowing more states to pass these bills. We urge you to act now and make a strong statement against these bills, saying that the NCAA will not host championships in states that openly discriminate against LGBTQI+ athletes."
"Sports are for everyone, and trans people pose no threat to sports participation or anywhere else," said Serena Sonoma, GLAAD communications coordinator and regional media lead, U.S. South. "The NCAA should follow its own guidance issued to North Carolina years ago, and insist that all states hosting events be inclusive of all who want to participate. The message should be clear and unmistakable: Bans are wrong and trans people belong, in sports and everywhere in the world."
To read the letter, visit www.athleteally.org/student-letter-ncaa-hb500/ .