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Women’s groups protest NCAA policies on International Women’s Day

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(The Center Square) — Several women’s organizations gathered at the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships in Virginia Beach on International Women’s Day to protest NCAA policies allowing a male identifying as a woman to compete in the day’s events.

The organizations are part of Our Bodies, Our Sports, a “coalition of women’s advocacy groups from across the political spectrum” advocating for female-only participation in women’s sports. The coalition and some of its member organizations have petitioned the NCAA multiple times to change its policies to limit women’s sports to females, and the Association updated its policies in 2022 – but not as the coalition hoped.

Now, the NCAA complies with whatever policy has been adopted by a sport’s national governing body, its international federation or the International Olympic Committee, which allows a transitioning male athlete to participate in female sports if his testosterone levels are suppressed below a certain threshold.

At Friday’s Championships, a male student identifying as a woman from New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology ran on the women’s team. The transgender student won the heat of the 200-meter dash with a 24.71-second time and placed ninth overall—only the top eight advance to the next round.

“Allowing even a single male to compete is discriminatory and unfair,” the Independent Women’s Forum, a women’s group active in the “Save Women’s Sports” movement, wrote on X after the race.

Paula Scanlan, a former University of Pennsylvania swimmer and Independent Women’s Forum ambassador, attended the Championships to protest.

“We don’t want to try to intentionally harass [the student]. It’s really about, ‘This is discriminatory to girls, this is the NCAA’s problem for allowing this,’” Scanlan told The Center Square.

Scanlan and two other women represented the Independent Women’s Forum at the event, holding signs saying, “Equality isn’t a game,” “Women’s sports are for women,” and “Hey NCAA: Stop discriminating.”

Others were there from Concerned Women for America and “some local Virginia groups,” according to Scanlan, and Attorney General Jason Miyares stopped by to show his support.

“He and governor Youngkin have been trying to push for legislation to protect female sports in this state,” Scanlan said, though such legislation has failed in the General Assembly more than once. Similar legislation has passed in more than twenty other states.

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