Harvard’s Schuyler Bailar Featured on 60 Minutes

Harvard University’s Schuyler Bailar made headlines tonight while he was profiled by CBS Television Network’s “60 Minutes.” Bailar has been blazing the trail as the first ever openly transgender athlete in an NCAA Division 1 Men’s Sport. The segment featured Bailar, his parents, and his coaches at Harvard, as they discussed the path Schuyler took towards becoming a member of the Harvard men’s swim team.

As a recruit, Schuyler received a lot of interest from Division 1 coaches before deciding that Harvard was his first choice. His original plan was to swim on the women’s team at Harvard under head coach Stephanie Morawski, but made the decision to swim for the men’s team with the support of Morawski and men’s coach Kevin Tyrrell.

The journey towards swimming for the Harvard men wasn’t always an easy one, and Schuyler initially postponed his enrollment at Harvard. Bailar’s parents joined the segment to discuss Schuyler’s struggles with eating disorders. They talked about the mental health issues and challenges Schuyler had to overcome as he realized he was transgender.

Bailar’s original plan was to lead a double life. He would live as a man on Harvard’s campus, but compete as a member of the women’s swim team. The NCAA has a policy that allows athletes who identify as male, but were born female, to compete on women’s teams as long as they aren’t taking male hormones. That would’ve allowed him to swim for Morowski.

Both Morowski and Tyrrell were interviewed in the segment to discuss their role in helping Bailar switch to the men’s team. Tyrell talk about addressing the situation with the team and ensuring there was an inclusive environment for Bailar.

Bailar is now a breaststroker for the Crimson men, with best times of 59.46 and 2:11.43 in the 100 and 200 from the team’s tri-meet against Princeton and Yale. He also swam a best of 56.26 in the 100 fly at the Harvard vs. Bryant meet. Bailar has also contributed on the teams relays, splitting a 58.76 on the breast leg of the 400 medley relay.

You can watch the full segment, called “Switching Teams,” here.

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Food For Thought
8 years ago

First, I believe Schuyler has the right to pursue life in any manner he deems correct. Nobody should have to hide themselves from the world for a personal choice.

From the purely competitive side of college swimming, would this story be so acceptable if it were an equally successful female transgender athlete wanting to compete on a women’s swim team? With the potential physical differences between a female transgender and female athletes being considered, these decisions could result in significant disadvantages in women’s swimming. I would think this has to be considered based upon the precedent being set by Harvard and the NCAA.

8 years ago

Those would be great times for the women’s team but obviously pedestrian for the men’s team. My only concern would be if are there swimmers at Harvard with faster times, just as much commitment to swimming, etc. that are not on the team to make space for Bailar? If yes, that would be as tragic as Title IX has been for men’s swimming.

8 years ago

*response to Question
My understanding (could be incorrect) is that Schuyler was accepted into harvard already having been a women’s team recruit. I believe I had read that men’s and women’s team coaches talked about Schuyler swimming for the men’s team and was quickly welcomed which I strongly applaud.
Now I do understand your point and don’t know more about if Schuyler was accepted to Harvard on the basis of being a competitive athlete for the women’s team. Keeping in mind I am not bashing her but just wondering out loud since all ivies do play favorable admissions for strong athletes. Since Schuyler (at the time) was not a strong male Harvard swimmer with those times, I don’t… Read more »

8 years ago

Congrats to Schulyer for being brave enough to be himself in a society today where that decision could not be harder. Hopefully he is opening a door for every athlete in a similar situation. However, Schuyler’s times aren’t at the general level of most male Harvard recruits today. My question is, was he given a spot on the team over someone who may be faster and more qualified or, since he was technically joining a new team, did he try out as a walk-on and make the team? I would love some clarification here, as if he was guaranteed a spot on the team before the switch, it would be unfair to other young men trying to make the team.… Read more »

Reply to  Question
8 years ago

He was accepted as a female athlete for the women’s team. Most college teams have a cap on their roster for both men’s and women’s teams as a combined entity, so therefore it would not have mattered whether he swam for the men’s or women’s team. He EARNED (and in my opinion far transcended) a spot to swim for Harvard. He was going to first try and live a double life as a female swimmer, but male socialite, which would have been a far worse option mental health-wise. He is an inspiration to transgender athletes, and I predict that he will be on the level of male Harvard swimmers by the time he graduates. The hard-working and determined attitude he… Read more »

Swimmer A
8 years ago

I love the part in the segment where they’re talking about how coach Tyrrell was going to address the issue to the men’s team, and he was like “yea it wasn’t a big deal” haha. I hope that’s direction we’re heading towards.

8 years ago

So proud of my teammate!

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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