NAIA Banning Transgender Athletes From Women’s Sports Results In Flood Of Controversy

by | Apr 11, 2024 | News

The NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) recently made the bold decision to all but ban transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports, which resulted in a mass amount of controversy.

The NAIA Council of Presidents unanimously voted to approve the change earlier this week at their convention in Missouri. Although much smaller than the NCAA, the NAIA supports more than 200 small colleges for women’s sports. This decision is viewed as the first of its kind on a major scale. 

The transgender participation policy will enter full effect in August and states, “All athletes may participate in NAIA-sponsored male sports, but only athletes whose biological sex assigned at birth is female and have not begun hormone therapy will be allowed to participate in women’s sports.”

The company’s CEO, Jim Carr, spoke with The Associated Press about his understanding of the backlash that will come with the decision, which ultimately will benefit the athletes involved. 

“We know there are a lot of opinions, and a lot of people have a very emotional reaction to this, and we want to be respectful of all that,” Carr said. “But we feel like our primary responsibility is fairness in competition, so we are following that path. And we’ve tried as best we could to allow for some participation by all.”

Sexuality has been a major talking point in recent years, so it should come as no surprise that the NAIA’s new policy sparked outrage. One of many people upset by the decision was Shiwali Patel, senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center.

“This is unacceptable and blatant discrimination that not only harms trans, nonbinary and intersex individuals, but limits the potential of all athletes,” Patel said in a statement. “It’s important to recognize that these discriminatory policies don’t enhance fairness in competition. Instead, they send a message of exclusion and reinforce dangerous stereotypes that harm all women.”

Women’s sports are at an all-time high at the collegiate level, especially basketball. The NCAA Division 1 National Championship between the Iowa Hawkeyes and South Carolina Gamecocks passed more than 18 million viewers, with a peak of 24. This came much thanks to the projected No. 1 pick in the upcoming WNBA Draft, Caitlin Clark.

Meanwhile, some see the move as an obvious and needed step in the right direction, including the founder of ‘The Pennsylvania Chase’ Cliff Maloney.

“NAIA Bans MEN athletes from Women’s Sports,” Maloney posted on X. “There, I fixed it.”

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