NCAA Further Outlines New Transgender Eligibility Requirements

by Emma Edmund 32

January 28th, 2022 College, News

The NCAA released more detailed information about its updated transgender eligibility requirements on Friday, including a process which requires schools to submit proof of athletes’ hormone suppression and accompanying laboratory results showing athletes’ testosterone level.

The new regulations, part of NCAA’s “Phase One” of updating requirements, only apply to transgender women, not to transgender men.

On January 19, the NCAA updated its transgender participation policy, voting in support of a sport-by-sport approach in line with U.S. and International Olympic Committee policy changes. The NCAA stated it will now follow the policy of the national governing body (NGB) of whatever sport a transgender athlete wants to participate in, or the IOC framework from November 2021 if no NGB policy is available. 

Previously, the NCAA only required transgender women to complete one year of testosterone suppression prior to competing on a women’s team. Now, the NCAA has released more specific steps schools must take to compete in the 2022 winter and spring championships coming up in the next couple of months. 

First, schools must fill out this reporting form for any transgender athlete looking to compete in the 2022 championships. 

Second, the athlete’s medical professional must fill out this form confirming at least one year of hormone suppression. 

Third, the school has to send in lab results confirming the athlete’s total “serum testosterone” level is within the allowable levels set by the relevant sport’s NGB. The lab tests cannot be taken more than 28 days before the first date of the championship the athlete wants to compete at.

Practically, these steps don’t change much for swimmers because there are no testosterone requirements for the sport, since USA Swimming, FINA, and the IOC have yet to set testosterone requirements. Prior to a November 2021 shift in framework, however, the IOC did require transgender women to keep their testosterone levels below 10 nmol per litre for at least 12 months to be eligible for competition. Richard Budgett, the IOC’s medical director, said that those requirements were no longer appropriate.

Additionally, USA Swimming released a statement saying it was working with FINA to come up with a new policy.

This new guidance comes in the wake of renewed debate in the participation of transgender athletes in sports, particularly the participation of transgender women. In swimming, Penn athlete Lia Thomas has generated international headlines in her first year competing on the women’s team. Thomas has broke multiple records this season, and has top times nationwide in the 200 free and 500 free, as well as a top-10 time in the 1650 free.

In addition, the recent policy changes, which have shifted the burden on defining the elements of transgender participation from the NCAA to sports’ NGBs, have not gone uncriticized.

The CSCAA called the recent policy changes a “missed opportunity to lead.” Seth Huston, Rice’s head swim coach, became the first active Division I coach to speak out on the topic, also criticizing the NCAA for lack of action.

At least for now, though, the policy seems here to stay, and has with it a multi-year implementation program. To help alleviate confusion, the NCAA has made a webpage dedicated to helping member schools and their athletes navigate the new requirements, which can be found here.

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Bill Price
6 months ago

What happens if the international governing body decides that trans women must compete with the men in an ‘open’ division, thus reserving the women’s category for natal females?

Last edited 6 months ago by Bill Price
Wendy Boglioli
6 months ago

It’s simple XX and XY categories! Male or female. Trans women can compete in the mens open category as it’s always been!

Texasdad
6 months ago

It would be nice if one of the organizations would lead!! Creating a more paperwork does not solve the unfair competition situation to biological female . This is kick the can. In this era of wokeness, I guess they are afraid of the cancel culture to create separate categories .

Jimbob
6 months ago

Other sports have a testosterone baseline that a female competitor must remain at/below to compete. Olympic eligibility in track, for example, has been determined by this.

Here’s a hint: it’s unlikely Thomas is suppressing testosterone to a level that’s anywhere near the biological females competitors. This will be an explosive advantage when it’s time to taper.

Alabama Alum
Reply to  Jimbob
6 months ago

Why do we keep comparing Lia to the female averages? It’s well known that elite athletes, male and female, have testosterone levels WELL above the average.

Beverly Drangus
Reply to  Alabama Alum
6 months ago

The most recent study I found appears to show the large majority of elite athletes they studied well within the normal reference range. I’d be curious to read any sources that conflict with this. https://clindiabetesendo.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40842-017-0050-3

Areeb
Reply to  Beverly Drangus
3 months ago

Gottem

AnAverageDwo
Reply to  Beverly Drangus
3 months ago

The study doesn’t say what you say it says, you should read it again.

The prevalence of ‘hyperandrogenism’ (as defined by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) and IOC (International Olympic Committee)) amongst this cohort of 231 elite female athletes was the highest so far recorded and the very high prevalence of ‘hypoandrogenism’ in elite male athletes a new finding.

It literally says they recorded higher levels of hyperandrogenism in elite female athletes. So while this doesn’t support Jimbob’s argument about male athletes having higher testosterone levels it DOES support their argument about females having higher testosterone levels.

Troyy
Reply to  Jimbob
6 months ago

World Athletics doesn’t have a testosterone limit for all females. There’s only a limit for trans and DSD athletes.

yardfan
Reply to  Troyy
6 months ago

Wrong. They do. Namibian track and field star Christine Mboma was banned from competing in the women’s race (400) at the Tokyo games. The reasoning: her natural testosterone levels are too high. She got tested and had no idea that her hormone levels were not within the typical range. 

Beverly Drangus
Reply to  yardfan
6 months ago

The IAAF rules as written do not appear to apply to all females. It’s not clear to me whether they even apply to trans athletes. They say:

A Relevant Athlete is an athlete who meets each of the following three criteria: (i) she has one of the following DSDs: (A) 5α-reductase type 2 deficiency; (B) partial androgen insensitivity syndrome (PAIS); (C) 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 3 (17β- HSD3) deficiency; (D) ovotesticular DSD; or (E) any other genetic disorder involving disordered gonadal steroidogenesis; 4 and (ii) as a result, she has circulating testosterone levels in blood of five (5) nmol/L or above; 5 and (iii) she has sufficient androgen sensitivity for those levels of testosterone to have a material androgenising effect. … Read more »

Beverly Drangus
Reply to  Troyy
6 months ago

Interesting. Same 5nmol/L limit, and testosterone has to be under that limit for one year leading up to competition. Whether or not people agree with their conclusions, IAAF have clearly put a lot of thought into this. I wouldn’t be surprised if the other sports end up adopting much or all of these rules just to avoid doing all that work themselves. (Assuming the rules survive the Semenya European Court case).

Troyy
Reply to  Beverly Drangus
6 months ago

The 5 nmol/l limit while not perfect is still far better than the ridiculous 10 nmol/l limit the IOC regulation had. I wouldn’t expect Semenya’s case to affect the transgender regulation.

Troyy
Reply to  yardfan
6 months ago

Wrong. The Namibian athletes are being banned using the DSD regulation which only applies to people with DSD.

Jimbob
6 months ago

So they’re g to test Thomas’s testosterone, and therefore have direct evidence of how much higher it is compared to the other competitors… And then they can’t do anything about it because the NGB doesn’t have a cut-off point for serum testosterone?

What’s the point?

Bevo
6 months ago

What a mess.

JimSwim22
6 months ago

What is the testosterone level that women have to be under? Isn’t it the same for all Olympic sports?

Admin
Reply to  JimSwim22
6 months ago

No. Those rules changed November 21.

JimSwim22
Reply to  Braden Keith
6 months ago

They changed for both cis and trans women? I missed that.

Troyy
Reply to  JimSwim22
6 months ago

As far as I’m aware there was no regulation for cis women to change.

Beverly Drangus
6 months ago

Wow, this really takes a turn after you click “Read more”