Forty-three college swimmers and one former pro, Casey Legler, have signed letters to the NCAA asking the association to bar the state of Idaho from hosting NCAA-sponsored event over House Bill 500, which was signed into law March 30, Sports Illustrated reported Wednesday.
The bill – called the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” – bans transgender women and girls from competing in women’s and girls’ sports at the high school and collegiate level in Idaho, making the state the first in the country to pass legislation against transgender students. It applies to “interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic teams or sports that are sponsored by a public school or any school that is a member of the Idaho high school activities association or a public institution of higher education or any higher education institution that is a member of the national collegiate 6 athletic association (NCAA), national association of intercollegiate athletics (NAIA), or national junior college athletic association.”
It mandates that teams be designated as based on biological sex – Males, men, or boys; Females, women, or girls; or coed or mixed – and that “sports designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex.”
The letters specifically ask that the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, slated for March 18-20 at ExtraMile Arena in Boise, be moved.
“Given Idaho’s adoption of a discriminatory law that directly impacts college athletics, violates NCAA values, and undermines the dignity and well-being of NCAA athletes, Idaho schools no longer qualify to host NCAA events,” the letter says.
Over 400 student-athletes signed their letter, which can be viewed here. Forty-three swimmers are listed as signatories, led by 11 from the Duke University team. Swimmers from the University of Michigan, Washington University in St. Louis, and Johns Hopkins also signed.
Nearly 50 professionals, including 1996 Olympic swimmer Casey Legler, signed another letter, which can be viewed here. Former and current professional sports stars including Billie Jean King, Megan Rapinoe, Sue Bird, Reggie Bullock and Jessica Mendoza are among the signatories. Duathlete Chris Mosier, the first known out trans athlete to join a U.S. national team different from his sex at birth, is also listed.
Previously, the NCAA has moved events due to discriminatory laws.
According to SI, the association moved seven championship events out of the state of North Carolina for the 2016–17 season after the state passed House Bill 2 (colloquially known as the “Bathroom Bill”) which banned people from using public bathrooms that don’t correspond to their biological sex as listed on their birth certificate.
The North Carolina bill was repealed and the NCAA went back to hosting events in the state.