NAIA, Governing Small Colleges, Bars Transgender Athletes From Women's Sports Competitions

The NAIA's new transgender participation policy prohibits transgender athletes from playing women's sports.

The NAIA, which governs 241 smaller schools and universities, stated Monday that "only NAIA student-athletes whose biological sex is female" and who have not started hormone therapy can compete in women's sports.

The regulation allows hormone-treated athletes to participate in workouts, practices, and team activities "at the discretion" of their school, but not interscholastic competition.

"With the exception of competitive cheer and competitive dance, the NAIA created separate categories for male and female participants," the rule says. Male student-athletes benefit from strength, quickness, and stamina in all NAIA sports.

Therefore, the NAIA policy regarding transgender student-athletes applies to all sports except competitive cheer and dance, which are open to all students." The latest sports news every day, from NFL plays to college scores.

The policy begins in August with the 2024 sports calendar. The regulation passed Monday during the NAIA's national meeting in Kansas City, Missouri.

National division has grown over transgender athlete participation. HRC president Kelley Robinson criticized the NAIA's decision Monday.

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who won the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Sunday, supports transgender women in athletics.

NCAA, a different organization from NAIA, changed its transgender athlete policy in January 2022 to comply with the U.S. and International Olympic Committees.

Since 2010, the NCAA's transgender policy requires one year of testosterone suppression medication and testosterone level documentation before championship competitions.

In 2019, the CDC predicted that 1.8% of high school students are transgender. Data from a 2017 HRC survey suggested that 14% of transgender boys and 12% of transgender girls play youth sports, suggesting that transgender athletes in college athletics are rare.

Dozens of states have passed laws excluding transgender athletes from women's sports. A Republican-majority House bill banned transgender girls and women from school sporting programs for female athletes in April 2023.

The Movement Advancement Project found that 24 states prohibit transgender adolescents from playing on gender-identical sports teams. Alaska regulates trans youth sports.

Wednesday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers rejected a bill banning transgender and gender nonconforming adolescents from school sporting teams that match their gender identity.