40+ College Swimmers Sign Petition Asking NCAA Not to Host Events in Idaho

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.

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4 years ago

I read many of the comments posted here. Lots of info and thoughts on this issue. I have a question – can anyone tell me if there’s a swimmer who competes as a woman who was born a man? Has there been one who displaced a women swimmer? If one goes through the transition to change their sex, I’m thinking that person has a lot with which to deal. I know there’s some strong reaction to this topic but I don’t think anyone would go through this transition for swimming or sport. Anyway, just my opinion.

4 years ago

If we look at the numbers (per NCAAs official website), we have a total of almost 23000 NCAA swimmers across all levels and both mens and womens.

The two (mens and womens) percentage of HS athletes competing in the NCAA is 7.2% and 7.5% respectively.

The US has an estimated trans population of a high of 0.3%.

So we use the higher values to over estimate the number of trans NCAA swimmers and we get:

7.5% × 0.3% × 23000 athletes = approx. 5 athletes across all divisions of the NCAA.

The great idea of making a whole third category for trans athletes falls apart. You will hardly ever see a trans athlete competing in swimming in any… Read more »

former BSU swimmer
4 years ago

This is DISGUSTING. As a former Boise State swimmer, I am dumbfounded by the lack of humanity that this state has shown. I loved having meets in Idaho but I fully support the banning of meets. This law cannot be passed in other States

Corn Pop
Reply to  former BSU swimmer
4 years ago

States should continue w h at the

Swimmer A
4 years ago

This decision makes it so transgendered women cannot compete in sports, at any level, in the entire state.

Swimmer A
Reply to  Swimmer A
4 years ago

It’s sickening that they passed this during the height of the quarantine, without any public input. They could have been decent humans and worked out a solution so that trans women could play sports in some capacity, but they just slipped this one in real quick and left transgendered athletes to fend for themselves.

Reply to  Swimmer A
4 years ago

Yea, a transgendered woman can compete in sport, as long as it is for their biological sex.

cynthia curran
4 years ago

Well, I have mixed views, in the state of CT, trans women now own all the track records in high school since they had an advantage with extra-testosterone. In fact there should be at least a period when the extra-testorerone is out of the body to compete as a girl. I understand why ID is doing what they are doing, but there could be a comprise on the issue by more of a waiting period for boys that become girls to lose the extra-testorerone.

Reply to  cynthia curran
4 years ago

It’s not just about extra testosterone while competing here. It’s about going through developmental changes as a male with a huge T boost. The pubescent male goes through significant morphological and physiological changes during this period that will not be reversed with time and hormone therapy. Just look at the difference in time standards between boys and girls going from 9/10 (11/12) to 13 and over

Ol Crab
4 years ago

I wonder if Sue Bird, Megan Rapinoe, and Jessica Mendoza will still support this when positions in the WNBA, US Women’s Soccer and US Softball are being taken by transgender athletes. It’s already happening in other sports. It will happen at some point in their sports and it will happen at the highest level(s).

CHAZ in Seattle
4 years ago

Hey NCAA: have your next championship event in CHAZ — where everything is peace, freedom, and joy!

Reply to  CHAZ in Seattle
4 years ago

You win the internet today. CHAZ!

Irish Ringer
4 years ago

Pressing question I have is if Ol’ Longhorn would support the movement as long as they agreed to change in a bathroom stall?

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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