NCAA Won’t Follow USA Swimming Transgender Policy For 2022 Championships

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.

Read More

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.

Leave a Reply

Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 months ago

If Thomas doesn’t test within the testosterone limits, will the school records stand or will they revert back to the actual record holder?

3 months ago

Hold a sec

Does this mean cis women can take testosterone as long as they stay under the limit?

pete kennedy
3 months ago

This is not fair to female swimmers.

Gisele Lamarche
3 months ago

The differences between the sexes in body composition are well known: males typically have proportionately more muscle mass, more bone mass, and a lower percentage of body fat than women. ” &”sex differences in lung size have important consequences. Men have larger lungs, wider airways, and greater lung diffusion capacity than women, even when these values are normalized to height. An important consequence of this structural difference is that in contrast to healthy young men, maximal exercise capacity may be limited by pulmonary capacity in women,” & “men have significantly greater left ventricular mass and chamber size than women. Because the left ventricular ejection fraction is the same in both sexes (10), the… Read more »

B1G fan
3 months ago

Like it or not, fair or not, the controversy therefore the publicity is good for the sport of womens college swimming. Probably more people will watch the races than ever before.

science believer
3 months ago

So many comments about a science-based policy. Is that what people really want here? The IOC and NCAA and other organizations consider the science when they come up with these plans. The medical community almost universally agrees with them and that x amount of suppression is fair. However, politicians, religious orgs, conservatives, etc. want bans. It seems the complaint isn’t science based then.

I get Lia Thomas is a focal point right now…but the fact that everyone points to her means the examples are extremely hard to find and her success is the outlier. Many trans people, especially kids, participate and we never hear about them….because they are not special athletically. Just because you don’t like the science or… Read more »

A. H.
Reply to  science believer
3 months ago

I so appreciate your comment! It’s almost like you’re out here trying to be calm and collected around this topic…as a mom of a transgender swimmer, I think that’s the attitude that more people need to adopt. My child is not a menace and is actually quite “slow” compared to many peers. Thank you for caring that there are actual humans (some very young ones) behind the “transgender agenda” and that there is clearly very little to be actually “outraged” by. Best wishes.

science believer
Reply to  A. H.
3 months ago

Not a problem! I think people forget this impacts kids more than anyone else (or I hope that’s the case). For many younger kids, it impacts them even though they have not gone through puberty. They may not completely go through puberty with blockers, etc…there is no need to alienate them. Even if they prove a benefit to older people who go through puberty and come out later in life, it does not relate to these young kids….and these kids will be a greater % of trans people in the years to come….why alienate these kids who have no benefit regardless?

In general though I think the best path forward to make decisions based on data and scientific experts.… Read more »

Sir Swam-A-Lot
3 months ago

Back in the 70s and 80s when I was just a fledgling pool rat, I remember boys occasionally putting on girls’ swimsuits while goofing around, but it was only a joke. The situation with Lia Thomas is unfortunately no joke. It’s a travesty.

3 months ago

Later is always the wrong time to fix an unfair rule. The best time is now. Hiding under the cover of “fairness” is absurd and cowardly.

Reply to  FluidG
3 months ago

I don’t understand what you’re trying to say. You said “the rule is unfair and should be fixed” but that “hiding under fairness is cowardly.” And those seem to be opposite opinions. So wtflolcopter?

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 …

Read More »