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NCAA Policy Update on Transgender Participation in Sports Stirs Controversy

AP Photo/Chris Szagola

According to a new policy from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), eligibility requirements for transgender athletes will now vary from sport to sport. The NCAA plans to implement the revised policy during the 2022 winter championships.

The NCAA is a member-led, nonprofit organization, founded in 1906 to regulate student athletes in up to 1,268 North American institutions and conferences. (

As a result of the rule change, trans athletes must regularly record their testosterone levels. The accepted levels will vary depending on the specific sport. Some athletes contend that the policy is too ambitious to realistically implement.

"This update complicates the NCAA policy in a way that I don't believe they are equipped to handle," said Chris Mosier, a duathlete and trans advocate.

"Given that many NGBs [National Governing Bodies] have not created policies for transgender athletes and that policies vary from sport NGB to NGB, tracking compliance is going to be a nightmare for the NCAA. This creates many different standards for trans athletes."

The previous policy required trans female athletes to undergo one year of testosterone suppression treatment. By contrast, the new policy gives profound discretion to each sport’s national governing body.

The new policy comes amid a wave of legislative pushes for the removal of trans athletes from school sports. Meanwhile, media outlets have criticized transgender swimmer Lia Thomas as she continues to make headlines for her impressive result in the 200-yard and 500-yard women’s freestyle. With the new law of the land, however, Thomas and other trans athletes are at the mercy of a labyrinth of different policies as expansive as the sports world itself.


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