NCAA Grandstanding

by Ed Whelan

On Friday, the NCAA announced that cities interested in hosting NCAA championships must fill out a questionnaire on whether they have laws (state or local) that govern use of bathrooms and locker rooms. Questions include:

3. Does your city, county/parish and/or state regulate choice of bathrooms or locker rooms that may affect student-athletes, coaches, administrators, or game officials during the Event?

4. Does your city, county-parish and/or state regulate choice of bathrooms that may affect fans attending the Event?

6. If the Event is planned to be held on institutional/campus property, does your institution have provisions that interfere with any person’s choice of bathroom or locker room?

(It would seem that the only way to answer “no” on question 6 is to have a policy that allows any person to use any bathroom or locker room.)

The NCAA’s interest in making sure that men who identify as women may use women’s bathrooms and locker rooms at NCAA events would appear to be much stronger that its interest in ensuring that men who identify as women are able to play on women’s sports teams. Under the NCAA’s policies (p. 13):

A male athlete who identifies as female but “who is not taking hormone treatments related to gender transition may not compete on a women’s team.”

A male athlete who identifies as female and who is “being treated with testosterone suppression medication for Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism … may not compete on a women’s team without changing it to a mixed team status until completing one calendar year of testosterone suppression treatment.”

These NCAA policies, I’ll note, are also inconsistent with the Obama administration’s claim that Title IX requires that schools that receive federal funds allow students who identify as transgender to participate in sex-segregated activities “consistent with their gender identity.” These NCAA policies regarding male athletes who identify as female require colleges not to treat them “consistent with their gender identity” unless and until they’ve completed one year of testosterone suppression treatment. The NCAA, in other words, is requiring colleges not to comply with the Obama administration’s misreading of Title IX.

(On sports teams, the Obama administration has made a different, and muddled, departure from its misreading of Title IX. I’ve also spelled out more broadly how the Obama administration’s illogic dictates an end to women’s sports teams.)

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