Female Swimmers Sue NCAA Over Male Competitors

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) faces legal action from a group of female players upset with men’s involvement in gender-specific activities and areas of private life.

The Independent Council on Women’s Sports is spearheading the case, which claims that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Georgia Tech—venue of the 2022 NCAA Swimming Championships—willfully disregarded Title IX. Under this federal legislation, educational institutions that receive federal financing are prohibited from engaging in discrimination based on sex.

The lawsuit’s stated goal is to prevent men from competing in women’s sports and to have the NCAA return any medals or championships that were previously awarded to transgender athletes competing in women’s events. Because of the defendants’ wrongdoing, the plaintiffs are suing for damages, including bodily harm, emotional distress, mental anguish, anxiety, and expenditure costs.

Famous women’s sports activists like Riley Gaines—who tied with Lia Thomas in the 200-meter event at the 2022 NCAA tournament—are among the plaintiffs. Another plaintiff, Kaitlynn Wheeler, asserts that she and her colleagues were made to feel extremely awkward when they had to change into their swimwear in the women’s locker room right in front of Thomas. The plaintiffs, all women, are members of swimming teams at several universities. These include the swimming programs at NC State, Roanoke College, Virginia Tech, and the University of Kentucky.

Claiming that limiting the amount of testosterone that male athletes can take is not a fair way to ensure that women can compete on an equal footing with men, the complaint questions the stance taken by several sports governing organizations. In addition to challenging transgender women’s participation in athletic competitions against their cisgender counterparts, the lawsuit attempts to nullify any victories or titles won by transgender athletes like Thomas. The complaint asserts that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and its members must adhere to all applicable rules and regulations and not pretend otherwise.

By allowing transgender lady Lia Thomas to compete in the 2022 national finals, the group allegedly infringed against their Title IX rights. Although there is some evidence that transgender athletes may do better than their cisgender female counterparts, there is less data on transgender girls competing against their cisgender colleagues or opponents at the highest levels of athletic competition.