Athlete Ally Responds to NCAA Lawsuit

March 18, 2024 — Athlete Ally responded today to news that last week, athletes including Riley Gaines filed a lawsuit against the NCAA accusing it of violating their Title IX rights by allowing transgender athlete Lia Thomas to compete at the national swimming championships in 2022.

This lawsuit is the latest effort to eliminate the ability of transgender athletes to exist in the same spaces as cisgender athletes, and to erode the autonomy of sport governing bodies to set evidence-based eligibility criteria as they see fit.

For over 10 years, the NCAA followed the same policy framework for the inclusion of trans athletes as the International Olympic Committee — a policy whose merits are supported by the Canadian Center for Ethics in Sports’ analysis of peer-reviewed scientific literature on trans athletes and competitive advantage.

“We empathize with the pain felt by any athlete who falls short of their athletic goals, but singling out, scapegoating, or otherwise targeting trans athletes as the cause for those failures is unfounded and perpetuates stigma, stereotypes and discrimination against transgender Americans,” said Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally.

“We urge the NCAA to uphold the same principles of Olympism that have helped sport reach as many people as possible: principles which affirm that access to sport is a human right, and that inclusivity and non-discrimination should be at the heart of sport policy. We care deeply about the safety of girls and women in sports, and urge those who feel the same to join us in advocating for equal pay,  an end to sexual abuse and harassment, equitable resources for men and women’s teams, and more women in leadership positions. All sport — including at the NCAA level — is at its best when all athletes are safe, welcome and included as they are.”