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Lombardo calls for NCAA transgender athletes policy change

Updated November 3, 2023 - 2:02 pm

Gov. Joe Lombardo has called for the National Collegiate Athletics Association to rewrite its policy regarding transgender athletes, according to a letter sent to the organization Monday.

The letter, which was signed by eight other Republican governors, argues that the NCAA is “avoiding responsibility for ensuring fairness” in college sports with its current policy.

“The NCAA has the chance to guarantee an environment where female college athletes can thrive without the concern of inequities,” the letter reads.

NCAA’s policy, which was approved in early 2022, mandates transgender student-athlete participation to be determined by the policy for the national governing body of that sport.

The letter goes on to reference Riley Gaines, a former collegiate swimmer known for criticizing the NCAA for allowing transgender swimmer Lia Thomas to compete against her in a women’s championship race.

The letter was addressed to the NCAA’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, which reviews policies and makes recommendations to the group’s governing body.

The call comes amid deliberations over President Joe Biden’s proposed changes to Title IX, which would expand the law’s protections to apply to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lombardo, joined by two dozen other governors, sent a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in May calling for the proposal to be withdrawn or delayed while the U.S. Supreme Court addresses pending cases. The proposed rule could prevent states from enforcing statutes related to athletics, the letter says.

Advocates for transgender athletes have called for equal access to participation in sports.

Lombardo’s office declined to comment. The NCAA, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the LGBTQIA+ Center of Southern Nevada did not immediately respond to a requests for comment.

Contact Taylor R. Avery at TAvery@reviewjournal.com. Follow @travery98 on X.

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