A group of administrators and coaches across the NCAA’s Division III are demanding lawmakers stop pending anti-trans legislation, and repeal draconian laws already in place.
On Monday, representatives from the NCAA Division III OneTeam Program published an open letter in support of transgender college athletes. In it, they highlight their work promoting inclusion in athletics, and why they feel compelled to speak out.
There are 42 signees in total.
“Legislation aimed at categorically banning transgender people—and particularly transgender girls and women—from sport is inherently discriminatory,” the letter reads. “Such legislation is often informed’ by hate and misinformation rather than science, and it is most certainly ‘informed’ by fear instead of fact.”
Three states — Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee — have already passed laws this year banning girls and women from school sports. Last week, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem banned transgender girls and women from competing at public high schools and colleges via executive order, after receiving blowback from conservatives for vetoing the initial legislation.
At the time, Noem said she feared the law would take the state’s schools out of compliance with the NCAA’s trans policies.
In total, 29 states have launched efforts to ban trans girls and women from playing sports.
The NCAA released a statement last year condemning Idaho’s anti-trans legislation (a federal judge halted the measure with a temporary injunction), but stopped short of threatening to pull events from the state. In the wake of MLB’s decision to move the All-Star Game from Atlanta over Georgia’s new restrictive voting law, our managing editor Dawn Ennis has called on the NCAA to take firmer action.
Last month, roughly 500 college athletes demanded the NCAA do the same.
In their letter, the OneTeam is taking its message to lawmakers: stop discriminating against trans people.
“Such legislation dehumanizes transgender students, refuses them the opportunity to participate equally and equitably in athletics, undermines their support in educational settings, damages their mental health, and ultimately harms these students, while also contributing to an exclusionary athletic environment and a more hostile school climate for all students,” the letter reads.