Report: UPenn Considering Lawsuit if Trans Swimmer Lia Thomas Barred from NCAA Women’s Championships

Lia Thomas
JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

The University of Pennsylvania will seriously consider filing a lawsuit if UPenn trans swimmer Lia Thomas is barred from competing in the women’s NCAA championships, according to a report.

A teammate of Thomas’ revealed the school’s alleged plan to Fox News.

“I have a feeling that if USA Swimming changes their rules, they will be filing a lawsuit for Lia to swim, but they wouldn’t do that for us,” she said. “That’s just really upsetting.”

The unnamed source claims she heard the suit being discussed among “some of the administrators.”

Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, ties her hair back before putting a swim cap on and swimming the for the University of Pennsylvania at an Ivy League...

Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, ties her hair back before putting a swim cap on and swimming for the University of Pennsylvania at an Ivy League meet against Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on January 22, 2022. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

USA Swimming’s current rules require a year of testosterone suppression to qualify for competition. Under those rules, Thomas would be eligible. However, in March, athletes will again be called upon to register their testosterone levels.

The updated NCAA policy states:

Transgender student-athletes will need to document sport-specific testosterone levels beginning four weeks before their sport’s championship selections. Starting with the 2022-23 academic year, transgender student-athletes will need documented levels at the beginning of their season and a second documentation six months after the first. They will also need documented testosterone levels four weeks before championship selections. Full implementation would begin with the 2023-24 academic year.

Thomas’ teammate, who spoke anonymously to Fox News for fear of retribution, hopes that the NCAA’s updated policy on allowing trans athletes to compete based on hormone levels will lead to significant change.

Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, warms up before swimming for the University of Pennsylvania at an Ivy League meet against Harvard University in...

Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, warms up before swimming for the University of Pennsylvania at an Ivy League meet against Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on January 22, 2022. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

“I’m a little bit more hopeful because I think that, at least as swimmers, we kind of realize that it’s not just testosterone levels,” she told Fox News. “It’s testosterone levels from the last 20 years and how that affected, you know, the fact that [Thomas] went through male puberty and the way that built her heart and lungs and her hands and the way she circulates blood and the lactic acid and all that stuff.”

“Stuff that – it’s not just the difference between two girls and how one might have slightly larger lungs and that gives them a slight advantage,” she continued, “These are monumental advantages that biological males just develop through puberty, and it’s not something that a year of [hormone treatments] can suppress because they still have all the muscle mass they had from the last 20 years.”

The swimmer continued:

They’re just proving, once again, that they don’t actually care about their women athletes,” the swimmer said of the University of Pennsylvania. They say that they care and that they’re here for our emotions, but why do we have to be gracious losers? … Who are you to tell me that I shouldn’t want to win because I do want to win. I’m swimming. I’m dedicating more than 20 hours a week to the sport.

Obviously, I want to win. You can’t just tell me I should be happy with second place. I’m not. And these people in Penn’s administrative department who just think that women should just roll over — it’s disturbing, and it’s reminiscent of the 1970s when they were fighting for Title IX and stuff like that. They don’t actually care about women at all.

“The Ivy League Championships begin next month on Feb. 16-18, followed by the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships on Feb. 24-27,” Fox News reports.

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