The women’s advocacy group Save Women’s Sports sent a letter on Wednesday to the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Board of Governors asking it to reject a boycott of Idaho because of a state law that limits women’s sport competitions to biological females to protect them from competing against biological males with female “identities.”
The letter’s signatories were more than 300 current and former professional, Olympic, and collegiate female athletes, including world-class cyclist Jennifer Wagner-Assali, world champion track athlete Cynthia Monteleone, and world champion marathon swimmer Sandra Bucha-Kerscher.
The NCAA has proclaimed its support for transgender athletes as one of its core values of inclusion, but the letters’ signatories said boycotting Idaho because of its Fairness in Women’s Sports Act amounts to “bullying tactics [that] are antithetical to the NCAA values of respect, fairness, and civility, and would send a chilling message to women across the U.S. about the NCAA’s commitment to the integrity of women’s sports.”
"300-plus high-profile female athletes, among them swimmer Sandra Bucha-Kerscher, have signed a letter asking a peak US university athletics body to preserve a 'fair and level playing field' for women’s sports." They cite research by @TLexercise et al.https://t.co/HJmcqD16Xy
— Bernard Lane (@Bernard_Lane) July 31, 2020
The letter continued:
Fairness for female athletes should not be a political or partisan issue. We athletes have diverse views on many topics, but stand united on this fact: protecting the integrity of women’s sports is pro-woman, pro-fairness, and consistent with the purpose and promise of Title IX.
Each one of us has benefitted personally, and many of us professionally, from a fair and level playing field. We have achieved striking success in the sports we love, and we are committed to preserving the same equality of opportunity for future female athletes.
We strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to compete, but true athletic parity for women demands that women’s sports be protected for biological females. Protecting the integrity of women’s sports has, for decades, played an integral role in remedying past discrimination against women and empowering them to achieve their full athletic potential.
The letter cited examples about how transgender athletes have displaced top women athletes, including Allyson Felix, a Team USA sprinter who holds the most World Championship medals in history. In 2018, 276 high school boys ran faster times in the 400-meter contest on 783 occasions — showing the striking difference between biological females and biological male performances.
The letter added that transgender females who undergo testosterone hormone suppression does not level the playing field. The letter said:
We do not want to watch our athletic achievements be erased from the history books by individuals with all the inherent athletic advantages that come from a male body. The NCAA’s mandate is fair competition. We urge you to reject all calls to boycott and bully Idaho for seeking to preserve fair competition for women and girls across Idaho.
“I agree with the letter,” said Donna de Varona, a Olympic gold medalist who signed the letter and who benefited from Title IV of federal civil rights law, which prohibits discrimination against women based on sex in education programs or activities, such as sports, that receive Federal financial assistance.
“Those that want to compete as transgender male-to-female athletes should be accommodated in a more creative, open, or separate category,” de Varona said.
“You don’t need to be especially political or religious to believe that women’s sports should only be for adult biological females,” Beth Stelzer, founder of Save Women’s Sports and a medaling powerlifter, said in the announcement of the letter. “Common sense and science tell us that men and women are different. Because of those differences, girls and women deserve the opportunity to compete, bond, train, suffer and enjoy victory without the presence of male bodies in their competitions or locker rooms.”
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