NCAA updates transgender sports participation policy

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The NCAA Board of Governors on Wednesday voted to support a sport-by-sport approach to transgender participation.

The new policy, effective immediately, aligns transgender student-athlete participation for college sports with recent policy changes (PDF) from the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and International Olympic Committee. Participation for each sport needs to be determined by the national governing for that sport.

Transgender student-athletes will need to document sport-specific testosterone levels beginning four weeks before their sport’s championship selections, according to the announcement from the NCAA. Starting with the 2022-23 academic year, transgender student-athletes will need documented levels at the beginning of their season and a second documentation six months after the first. They will also need documented testosterone levels four weeks before championship selections. Full implementation would begin with the 2023-24 academic year.

The NCAA urged its divisions to provide flexibility to allow for additional eligibility if a transgender student-athlete loses eligibility based on the policy change provided they meet the newly adopted standards.

“We are steadfast in our support of transgender student-athletes and the fostering of fairness across college sports,” said John DeGioia, chair of the board and Georgetown president. “It is important that NCAA member schools, conferences and college athletes compete in an inclusive, fair, safe and respectful environment and can move forward with a clear understanding of the new policy.”

“Approximately 80% of U.S. Olympians are either current or former college athletes,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president. “This policy alignment provides consistency and further strengthens the relationship between college sports and the U.S. Olympics.”

The NCAA’s Office of Inclusion and the Sport Science Institute also released the Gender Identity and Student-Athlete Participation Summit Final Report (PDF).