Parents of female swimmers at the University of Pennsylvania who are outraged over a transgender student’s shredding of competitors in a recent competition have fired off a letter to the NCAA demanding that the organization change its rules.
“Thomas, a transgender student at the Ivy League university, dominated the 500-yard freestyle preliminaries and finals at the Zippy Invitational at the University of Akron this month,” Fox News reported.
“Thomas earned a winning time of 4:34.06 in the finals, breaking the Ivy League record, and set new school records in the 1,650-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle competitions. Thomas previously competed as a man for three years on the school’s men’s team. Thomas’ success on the women’s team has renewed criticism over allowing transgender women to compete against biological females,” the network continued.
The Daily Mail noted further that the parents of 10 swimmers penned the letter to the NCAA, the Ivy League, and UPenn athletics officials Dec. 5 to voice their concerns that the integrity of women’s collegiate sports is literally at risk of being destroyed.
“At stake here is the integrity of women’s sports. The precedent being set – one in which women do not have a protected and equitable space to compete – is a direct threat to female athletes in every sport. What are the boundaries? How is this in line with the NCAA’s commitment to providing a fair environment for student-athletes?” said the letter, which was obtained by the outlet.
“It is the responsibility of the NCAA to address the matter with an official statement. As the governing body, it is unfair and irresponsible to leave the onus on Lia, Lia’s teammates, Lia’s coaches, UPenn athletics and the Ivy League. And it is unfair and irresponsible to Lia to allow the media to dictate the narrative without the participation of the NCAA.”
The letter was sent Dec. 5. The NCAA didn’t respond to it, Fox News reported, but UPenn did.
“Please know that we fully support all our swimming student-athletes and want to help our community navigate Lia’s success in the pool this winter,” the school said. “Penn Athletics is committed to being a welcoming and inclusive environment for all our student-athletes, coaches and staff and we hold true to that commitment today and in the future.
“We’ve encouraged our student-athletes to utilize the robust resources available to them at Penn, and I’d like to share them with you as well,” the university added.
NCAA rules state that a trans woman can’t compete with women until after undergoing testosterone suppression treatment for a year. Thomas recently brushed off her critics in an interview, saying the NCAA rules are fair and “promote competition integrity.”
The NCAA has defended its policy, which requires testosterone suppression treatment, as part of its vision for “fair competition.”
“The NCAA Board of Governors firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports,” the NCAA said in April. “This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition.”
A recent report by Outkick quoted a teammate of Thomas, who indicated that in fact, despite outward appearances, many girls on the female squad are not happy with the situation, especially after Thomas swam as a male for the first three years of his/her academic career.
“Pretty much everyone individually has spoken to our coaches about not liking this. Our coach [Mike Schnur] just really likes winning. He’s like most coaches. I think secretly everyone just knows it’s the wrong thing to do,” the female Penn swimmer said during a phone interview.
“When the whole team is together, we have to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, go Lia, that’s great, you’re amazing.’ It’s very fake,” she added.
The teammate went on to add, sadly, that she can’t speak publicly because “she feared for her ability to find employment after graduating from college” for being honest about a transgender teammate, Outkick added.