College Athletics Association Bans Trans Athletes from Participating in Women’s Sports

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In the wake of South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley expressing her support for transgender athletes competing in female sports, one collegiate athletics association is taking the opposite stand.

This week, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) banned biological men from competing in women’s sports with the release of its new ‘transgender participation policy.’

On Tuesday’s show, Megyn was joined by Sage Steele, host of The Sage Steele Show, to discuss the NAIA’s decision to protect female athletes and what it means for college sports.

NAIA Trans Policy

The NAIA announced its updated participation requirements on Monday. Effective August 1, athletes will only be allowed to compete in NAIA-sponsored women’s sports if their biological sex was assigned female at birth and they have not undergone hormone therapy. 

The updated Transgender Participation Policy states that the NAIA “supports fair and safe competition opportunities for all student-athletes” and Title IX “ensures there are separate and equal opportunities for female athletes.” As such, the organization “offers separate categories of competition in all sports except for competitive cheer and competitive dance, which are both co-ed.”

While “all eligible NAIA student-athletes may participate in NAIA-sponsored male sports,” those competing in the women’s category must prove that their “biological sex is female” and they have “not begun any masculinizing hormone therapy.”

Students who have started hormone therapy are permitted to workout, practice, and participate in team activities “that are internal to the institution,” but they cannot be a part of interscholastic competition.

CBS Sports reported that the measure passed by a 20 to 0 note, and NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr said in a press release that the updated policy is about fairness. “It is crucial that NAIA member institutions, conferences, and student-athletes participate in an environment that is equitable and respectful,” he said. “With input from our member institutions and the Transgender Task Force, the NAIA’s Council of Presidents has confirmed our path forward.”

Not to be confused with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the NAIA governs 241 smaller colleges and universities.

Taking a Stand

The topic of trans athletes competing in women’s sports is top of mind this week after Outkick reporter Dan Zaksheske asked Staley and her Iowa counterpart, Lisa Bluder, for their thoughts on the matter. While Bluder punted on the question, Staley said she supports trans participation

Given those headline-making comments, Megyn could not ignore the NAIA’s timing. “As if almost in a karmic twist, we now get the announcement from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics,” Megyn said. “That trend is not going Dawn Staley’s way. It’s going our way.” 

While Steele is a fan of Staley, she said she was “very disappointed” in her remarks. “Dawn knows and everybody knows that she would never have had the hall of fame career that she did, if she were playing against men,” she noted. “This is only going in one direction. It is only men who say they are women who are trying to come into women’s sports. It’s not the reverse.”

With that in mind, Steele said the NAIA deserves “kudos” for the updated policy. “It is smaller, private and, primarily, religious schools, so I don’t think I’m as surprised that the NAIA did this,” she concluded. “But it was still taking a stand and doing it.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Steele by tuning in to episode 761 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.