Ivy League Releases Statement In Support of Lia Thomas

The Ivy League released a statement in support of Lia Thomas‘ participation on the University of Pennsylvania women’s team in an Instagram post on Thursday.

The conference says it has adopted the same transgender policies as the NCAA, and that Thomas and Penn have worked to ensure they’re abiding by those restrictions in recent years.

Ivy League Statement:

“Over the past several years, Lia and the University of Pennsylvania have worked with the NCAA to follow all of the appropriate protocols in order to comply with the NCAA policy on transgender athlete participation and compete on the Penn women’s swimming and diving team. The Ivy League has adopted and applies the same policy.

“The Ivy League reaffirms its unwavering commitment to providing an inclusive environment for all student-athletes while condemning transphobia and discrimination in any form.

“The league welcomes her participation in the sport of women’s swimming and diving and looks forward to celebrating the success of all of our student-athletes throughout the season.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The Ivy League (@ivyleague)

Thomas, a trans woman, competed on the University of Pennsylvania men’s team for three seasons before transitioning over a two-year period before beginning to race as a woman in 2021-22.

The NCAA’s transgender policy allows trans women to compete on a women’s team if they’ve completed a minimum of one year of testosterone suppression treatment. Thomas has been undergoing treatment for the last two and a half years.

Thomas currently ranks first in the NCAA in the women’s 200 freestyle (1:41.93) and 500 freestyle (4:34.06), and also ranks sixth in the 1650 free (15:59.71).

The 2022 Ivy League Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships are scheduled for February 16-19 in Cambridge, Mass.

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cynthia curran
10 months ago

Well, I didn’t like the snobbish remarks of some progressives here that people on the right don’t know anything about swimming. Some do and some don’t of course. Will Swain that does Radio Fere California for National Review swim for Mission Viejo he said so in an e-mail. In fact Swain use to be a leftist that moved to a moderate libertarian position. His kids are all over the political spectrum. Another thing since Thomas is not as strong at the 100 maybe a comprise of her swimming 200 or less distance might work. She doesn’t have fast twitch muscles.

Little Mermaid
10 months ago

Yale swimmer, Iszac Henig 100 freestyle, with a time of 49.57 seconds, henig is transgender, transitioning from female to male! Can make this stuff up same meet! And best Thomas!

YourLocalD3Swimmer
Reply to  Little Mermaid
10 months ago

Iszac Henig explicitly states that he would not begin hormone therapy for the time being so that he could continue to compete as a member of the women’s team, and would only begin the social aspect of the transition process while still at Yale. What a crazy thought! Certainly Lia Thomas could have taken a similar approach…

Skeptic
Reply to  YourLocalD3Swimmer
10 months ago

Did his breast removal surgery give him an advantage? Less frontal drag? Less mass to move through the water?

Hmm
10 months ago

Notice how Penn isn’t post her times on meet mobile??… Interesting

Admin
Reply to  Hmm
10 months ago

Yes they are.

Fluidg
10 months ago

What’s the ISL’s transgender policy?

Fluidg
10 months ago

FUBAR

ACC Proud
10 months ago

Ivy League is really dropping the ball here. “We followed the rules” does know acknowledge the fact the rules are wrong and countless women are being wronged. The Ivy League is shameless in promoting this and accepting the accolades that come
with her “success”. I hope anyone finishing second to her at NCAA’s gets a nice endorsement deal

Really
10 months ago

Wrong

THEO
10 months ago

I have a more middle-of-the-road attitude about this that I thought I’d share since I don’t really see it represented in any comments here… I think the current rules seem roughly okay but need longer time on HRT and/or that treatment started earlier in life. I don’t think you can ever 100% mitigate advantages of being AMAB, but I also do not think that the threshold for being reasonably fair needs to be all the way at 100% because, as others have pointed out, in no other way is sport 100% fair. Financial stability, access to good facilities coaches and equipment at a young age, height, etc, etc. So I don’t really see why people feel that gender-related differences could/would/should… Read more »

Taa
Reply to  THEO
10 months ago

As a man she was 12 seconds off the mens record and as a women she is 10 seconds off the womens record. Most people would conclude thats about as good as you are going to get. Two seconds better could be attributable to an improvement over the 3 year time span.

lol
Reply to  Taa
10 months ago

You have to look at averages. Manipulating data will give you the wrong answer. The men’s record is not the outlier that the women’s is and relative standing is way more important because of how bunched up the men are around their top times. Being trans should not give you an advantage relative to your competition just by being trans. It will be impossible to measure true mitigation anyhow, just like it’s impossible to change your sex.

THEO
Reply to  lol
10 months ago

I agree with your point about the womens 500 record being an outlier, that’s why I converted via ncaa rankings of the times in 2019 rather than considering record times. I also agree that Lias success is buoyed by the fact that she was AMAB. My point is that I don’t think that truth is nearly sufficient to warrant the level of outcry people are showing here, nor the idea that trans women can’t compete as women.

MJD
Reply to  Taa
10 months ago

Her pre-transition best in the 200 yard free was 1:39. Post-transition is 1:41. 10 seconds and 2 seconds off the respective male and female records. That seems a bit more of a stark difference, especially considering that 1:41 is quite literally world class, and that 1:39 is unremarkable on the men’s side. Granted, she doesn’t seem to have a tapered swim in the 200 yard free for quite some time, so she’d likely have posted a faster 200 at some point… but I doubt it would have been anywhere close to a 1:31.

THEO
Reply to  THEO
10 months ago

To those downvoting – I’m curious why. Are you just pessimistic about the plausibility of transitioning in a way that reduces the advantages to a satisfactory level? or the premise that “a satisfactory level” doesn’t need to be 100%?

I’m not an expert on trans physiology so I can’t speak to specifics, but clearly HRT does directionally move the needle towards fairness and I’m just saying that Lia’s case doesn’t convince me at all that trans women cannot compete fairly and that adjustments to these rules can’t meet peoples concerns around fairness.

lol
Reply to  THEO
10 months ago

How are you ever going to measure all of the biological differences between men and women and assure that those forces have been mitigated suitably for a given person? Fair enough is not what sport is about. We don’t give people passes for having just a little bit of PEDs in their system or a little bit of a better suit. How is it any different to have a body built with advantageous physiology or one that has used testosterone for training benefit over time. If you are going to use drugs to bring someone’s performance down and put them in competition you have to be damn sure the drugs do exactly what you expect across all kinds of performance… Read more »

swimmerswammer
Reply to  lol
10 months ago

You’ve lost the plot. We give people passes on a little bit of PEDs in their system all the time, and some suits are better than others. [email protected]

Steve Nolan
Reply to  lol
10 months ago

We don’t give people passes for having just a little bit of PEDs in their system or a little bit of a better suit.

The lines here are just as blurred as the ones you tend to barrel through when it comes to trans athletes. (PED classifications are some of the more arbitrary things in sports, and just over a decade a go there was a biiiit of a big kerfuffle over suits in swimming. And even now, suits aren’t universal.)

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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