America’s preeminent collegiate athletics organization has spoken out in support of transgender student athletes, a move that LGBTQ+ activists hope will force Republican lawmakers to rethink anti-trans sporting bills.
On Monday (April 12), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) said in a formal statement that it “firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports.” What’s more, the organization said that it only allows championship games to be hosted in states that “can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination.” Translation? The NCAA can exercise its right to pull championship events from states with anti-transgender laws on the books, although according to NBC News, it is still unclear if the organization will.
“The Board of Governors continues to monitor the situation and has not made a decision regarding championships,” a rep for the NCAA told the outlet in a clarifying statement.
The NCAA’s statement comes on the heels of an unprecedented surge in anti-trans legislative efforts across the United States. Since January 1, 2021, Republicans in 25 different states have introduced at least 60 measures targeting trans and gender non-conforming youth, according to an Axios report from March. The majority of these bills take aim at trans kids’ access to gender-affirming health care — including one devastating bill that was recently passed in Arkansas — or their eligibility to participate in student athletics.
As transgender athlete and activist Chris Mosier noted on Twitter, certain states potentially becoming ineligible to host NCAA championships because of anti-trans laws isn’t just a matter of optics or morals; it could also pose a huge financial loss.
As a reminder, Texas will be ineligible to host NCAA championships because anti-trans bills violate the NCAA eligibility criteria to host events.
Big state: That’s a lot of events. And a LOT OF $$$$ pic.twitter.com/S5n0Jb6ZPy
— The Chris Mosier (@TheChrisMosier) April 12, 2021
“I hope every state currently discussing these bills takes notice,” Mosier tweeted Monday.