16 Female College Athletes Sue NCAA, U. Georgia System Over Transgender Policies

The plaintiffs allege their Title IX rights were violated when UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, participated in the women’s national championships.

16 Female College Athletes Sue NCAA, U. Georgia System Over Transgender Policies

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ATLANTA — More than a dozen current and former female college athletes filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the NCAA, alleging the organization violated their Title IX rights by allowing University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, to participate in the 2022 national championships.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, argues the NCAA’s transgender eligibility policies, revised in 2022 to align with national sports governing bodies, “adversely impact female athletes in violation of Title IX.”

The athletes also allege the NCAA violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment “by treating women unequally in comparison to men, depriving women of competitive opportunities equal to those afforded men, and violating women’s right to bodily privacy.”

The suit also names the University System of Georgia as a defendant since the 2022 championships took place at Georgia Tech, Inside Higher Ed reports. The suit seeks to prevent the NCAA from applying these policies at upcoming events in Georgia.

Thomas was the first openly transgender athlete to win a Division I title in any sport, winning the 500-yard freestyle in 2022 and finishing in front of three Olympic medalists. The lawsuit says by not making the final, Florida swimmer Tylor Mathieu, who is not named as a plaintiff, was denied first-team All-American honors in that event. Thomas, who previously competed for the men’s team at Penn before her gender transition, also reached the finals in two other events.

Former University of Kentucky swimming Riley Gaines was among the women who filed the lawsuit, which details the shock she and other swimmers felt when they learned they would have to share a locker room with Thomas at the championships, according to AP News. It also details several races they swam in with Thomas, including the 200-yard final in which Thomas and Gaines tied for fifth but Thomas received the fifth-place trophy.

The athletes are also seeking the NCAA to invalidate and revise all records and titles that were based on the results of competitions that allowed transgender athletes to participate, CNN reports. The plaintiffs, who also include athletes from volleyball and track, said they filed the lawsuit “to secure for future generations of women the promise of Title IX that is being denied them and other college women” by the NCAA.

The third phase of the NCAA’s revised policy is scheduled to be implemented for the 2024-2025 school year and adds national and international sports governing body standards to its rules.

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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3 responses to “16 Female College Athletes Sue NCAA, U. Georgia System Over Transgender Policies”

  1. andrea says:

    entitled to win? why aren’t they suing over the other girls who beat them?

  2. Randy says:

    Because they (the other girls) were always girls/females and had no prior male (bone density, muscle development) advantage. Its just science.

  3. Colleen says:

    I agree with Randy. There is a scientifically-proven difference between the physical structure of biological males and biological females. In the spirit of fair play for all, there should be a separate category for transgender athletes.

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