American Conservative Union accuses NCAA of ‘choosing the cheap route’ in transgender sports policy

The American Conservative Union took aim at the NCAA’s stance on transgender athlete participation in women’s college sports on Tuesday, accusing the governing body of having a financial motivation in its call for an inclusive competitive environment.

The NCAA recently reiterated its support for transgender athletes to participate in college sports of their choosing as more than two dozen states considered bills that would bar transgender youth of competing on teams that align with their gender identity. In a letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert, the ACU argued the regulatory body’s stance was a disservice to both transgender athletes and women’s collegiate sports.

“As conservatives, we believe that every person is deserving of equal dignity and respect, and that colleges and universities should never deny transgender athletes the opportunity to compete at the highest levels,” the letter said. “But it is clear that the NCAA is using women’s athletics as an easy and inexpensive way to ensure this goal.”

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“But in choosing the cheap route, you are putting biological women in harm’s way while also depriving transgender athletes of better opportunities to participate in competitive sports,” the letter added. “The NCAA’s so-called “commitment” to inclusion and fair competition is nothing but a hollow promise designed to protect the NCAA’s massive bank accounts.”

Proponents of the state bills argue that allowing transgender youth to participate in girls’ sports is harmful to competition. Critics argue the bills are cruel and discriminatory toward transgender people.

The NCAA’s current policy requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women competing in women’s sports.

The NCAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.

The ACU’s latest letter marked an escalation in its war of words with the NCAA. The conservative group previously penned a letter to the NCAA in April, shortly after collegiate sports officials warned that “only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected” to host NCAA championship events.

At the time, the ACU accused the NCAA of caving to “woke activists” to garner public goodwill as the Supreme Court considers an antitrust lawsuit against the collegiate sports organization.

Emmert responded to that letter, reiterating that the NCAA “believes inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport.”

“The NCAA Board of Governors’ clear expectation as the Association’s top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect,” Emmert said.

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In response, the ACU argued in its letter this week that the NCAA had “misunderstood our position and concerns.” The group asserted the NCAA had cited “no evidence” to support its claim that testosterone suppression treatment ensured fair competition.

“Forcing this unfair competition on female athletes is just another example of the NCAA’s failure to prioritize women,” the letter said. “The NCAA is already under fire for failing to provide women with equal treatment and access to training facilities. We are calling on the NCAA to abide by the spirit and intent of Title IX by protecting women-only athletics.”

The ACU called on the NCAA to attend a meeting to “discuss better ways to protect opportunities for “all athletes, regardless of their gender.”