Earlier this week, 166 acting and former NCAA athletes banded together, asking the NCAA Board of Governors to reconsider allowing championships to be held in North Carolina for the 2017-2018 season. Transgender triathlete Chris Mosier headed up the effort. Athletes who signed the letter include three-time Olympic gold medalist Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Big Ten champion G Ryan, and Big Ten champion Bob Glover.
You can read the full text of the letter here.
The athletes wrote the letter to protest the NCAA decision to hold championships in North Carolina in wake of the state’s repeal of 2016 House Bill 2 (known colloquially as the “bathroom bill”). HB2, among other things, required people in public spaces (including children) to use the bathroom consistent with the sex on their birth certificate and nullified local legal protections for the LBGT community. The NCAA pulled 7 2016-2017 major championships out of North Carolina over the bill, based on the athletic organization’s “commitment to fairness and inclusion.”
When HB2 was repealed last week, it was replaced with HB142, which North Carolina lawmakers called a compromise. After the repeal, the NCAA decided to consider championship bids from North Carolina cities for the 2017-2018 season, saying the new law “has minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment.”
However, critics and LGBT advocates, including those who sent the letter, disagree.
“But HB142, the new law, is not a repeal of HB2,” the athletes write. “It still prevents LGBTQ people, and particularly transgender people, from being safe in North Carolina. It prevents cities, counties and schools from passing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and creates an untenable situation for transgender individuals across the state who are left in limbo without any guidance on how they can avoid criminalization and/or exclusion when using restrooms and locker rooms.”
They continue by contending that the NCAA has an “obligation to protect” its LGBT athletes.
“All athletes, coaches, and fans should have access to the sports they love, and an essential part of that is the ability to exist in public spaces without the fear of harassment, violence, or exclusion,” they write. “Locker rooms and restrooms should be free from discrimination for all people, including LGBTQ people. HB142 denies transgender people equal opportunity to access public and athletic spaces and sends a message that the transgender community is not welcome in North Carolina. And indeed, in condoning – and rewarding – this discriminatory conduct in North Carolina, the NCAA has sent the message to transgender people across the country that they are not safe as more states may act to pass comparable legislation without fear of consequences.”
You can see a list of signees who are swimmers, water polo players, and divers below:
Amy Reams, Former college athlete, (DI Swimming)
Audrey Busby, Current college athlete (DIII Soccer and Swimming)
Bob Glover, Current professional athlete (DI Swimming)
Chris Cassingham, Current college athlete (DIII Swimming)
Christina Chala, Former college athlete (DIII Water Polo)
Cole Courtemanche, Former college athlete (DI Swimming)
Connor Lohman, Current college athlete (DI Swimming)
Daniela Georges, Current college athlete (DI Swimming)
Emma McCarthy, Current college athlete (DI Swimming)
G Ryan, Current college athlete (DI Swimming)
Isobel Holcomb, Current college athlete (DI Diving)
Jade Jacobs, Former college athlete (DII Swimming)
John Paul Gaylor, Former college athlete (DI Swimming)
Jon Denton-Schneider, Former college athlete (DI Swimming)
Kennedy Lohman, Current college athlete (DI Swimming)
Matthew Roberts, Former college athlete (DII Swimming)
Mik Ranslem, Current college athlete (DI Swimming)
Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Former college athlete (DI Swimming)
Reina Miller, Current college athlete (DI Swimming)
Sean Smith, Former college athlete (DI Swimming)
Taylor Garcia, Current college athlete (DI Swimming, DIII Soccer)