The NCAA will not adopt USA Swimming’s new transgender policy prior to the women’s swimming and diving national championships next month, though there will be a testosterone restriction in place for trans women.
The NCAA’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS) recently met to review the new policy published by USA Swimming on Feb. 1, ultimately recommending to the Board of Governors that the organization maintains its previously-approved testosterone threshold for transgender women and doesn’t follow USA Swimming.
The NCAA published its 2022 transgender student-athlete participation policies and total serum testosterone thresholds on Jan. 27, with women’s swimmers and divers permitted to have a testosterone threshold less than 10 nmol/L, which is in line with the current International Olympic Committee (IOC) threshold.
USA Swimming’s new policy requires a transgender woman’s serum to be less than 5nmol/L for a period of at least 36 months.
On January 19, the NCAA Board of Governors approved updates to its transgender participation policy that aligned with the IOC and the Olympic movement.
“The Phase One eligibility requirements and related documentation submission timelines (PDF) communicated from that decision, including for the 2022 NCAA women’s swimming and diving championships and other winter championship events, will remain in effect,” the NCAA said in its release on Thursday.
“Based on the transgender student-athlete participation policy approved in January and the NCAA testosterone thresholds approved thereafter, the Administrative Subcommittee of the CSMAS reviewed USA Swimming’s new testosterone threshold. The subcommittee decided implementing additional changes at this time could have unfair and potentially detrimental impacts on schools and student-athletes intending to compete in 2022 NCAA women’s swimming championships.
“The subcommittee decided implementing additional changes at this time could have unfair and potentially detrimental impacts on schools and student-athletes intending to compete in 2022 NCAA women’s swimming championships.”
The NCAA has implemented a four-week window in which schools can submit required eligibility documentation (e.g., testosterone lab results), and USA Swimming’s policy was published after that window opened.
“The subcommittee noted the four-week window was designed to provide schools and student-athletes adequate time to consider eligibility requirements and related health care options and to safely obtain documentation,” the NCAA said.
For Division I women’s swimming and diving, the four-week window opened on Jan. 31, one day prior to USA Swimming’s release of its new policy. The deadline for submission is Feb. 21.
“USA Swimming’s new policy will be part of the subcommittee’s future analysis when recommending additional updates to eligibility requirements for Phase Two (2022-23 academic year) and Phase Three (2023-24 academic year),” the NCAA said.
- NCAA’s latest statement
- NCAA transgender student-athlete participation policy
- USA Swimming transgender policy
The call for a new transgender participation policy in women’s swimming has come to light in recent months as Lia Thomas, a trans woman, has been dominating the women’s 200 and 500 freestyle events in the NCAA while competing for the University of Pennsylvania.
On Wednesday, the Ivy League confirmed that Thomas would be eligible to race at their conference championships, scheduled for Feb. 16-19.
Thomas will then need to meet the NCAA testosterone requirements in order to compete at the Division I National Championships, which will run March 16-19.