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Spotlight on women's sports exposes this dark secret of the NCAA

OpinionSpotlight on women's sports exposes this dark secret of the NCAA

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Breaking attendance and viewership records, women’s athletics continues to draw eyes under the arena lights. And this growing light is exposing dark secrets hidden inside: the college governing sports body’s relentless overlook of sex discrimination.  

In the past several years, the debate over “trans inclusion” in athletics leaped onto the national stage when the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) awarded Lia Thomas, a male swimmer who identified as transgender, a Women’s National Championship trophy. 

Despite widespread support for affirming sex-based protections, the NCAA has remained eerily quiet. They’ve continued a posture of passivity despite remaining a key player in uprooting the foundation of female athletics. 

NCAA logo on a board

The NCAA has refused to address the damage to female athletes by allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Current and former athletes, myself included, have appealed numerous times to the NCAA leadership and informed them of the disastrous consequences we suffer due to their neglect. 

WNBA STAR ANGEL REESE: ‘PROTECT YOUNG WOMEN IN SPORTS’

Though the NCAA claims a priority to “deliver safe, fair, and inclusive competition,” the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) rule, announced a few weeks ago, affirms protections of female spaces – starkly in contrast to the NCAA. Theirs is an example of a true commitment to fairness. 

Meanwhile, the NCAA has punted on the issue, refusing to address the damage to female athletes, refusing to even discuss the issue with a coalition of former and current athletes about our concerns. NCAA President Charlie Baker admitted to Congress that the NCAA has never even studied the harm done to women when biological males are able to compete in female sports.

Earlier this month, a Reduxx exclusive exposed another male dominating female athletes on San Jose State University’s Division 1 volleyball team. Blaire Fleming, formerly Brayden, is a 6-foot-1 redshirt junior male athlete wielding insurmountable advantages over the female athletes he competes against. 

HOUSE REPUBLICANS DEMAND NCAA BAN ON BIOLOGICAL MEN IN WOMEN’S SPORTS

Fleming is known to be “unstoppable” by his female competitors. The net in the men’s competition is seven inches higher than in female competition, proving the biological reality  between men and women.

Fleming previously played at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina during the 2020-2021 season his freshman year. As a South Carolina native, I testified on a “Save Women’s Sports” bill, asking the South Carolina legislature to clarify the requirements for female sports in the state – that the participants… be female. The legislation passed the next season and Fleming transferred to his new school in California. 

The claim that this “is not a real issue” is promoted by adversaries of sex-based protections. The NCAA’s silence plants seeds for misunderstanding. San Jose State administration reportedly did not know of Fleming’s biological sex.

WHAT THE NCAA’S BLOCKBUSTER ADMISSION SAYS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF WOMEN’S SPORTS

If the rule makers don’t care about the sex of the athlete, why would the school feel a need to investigate? Their job is to win, and these are the rules. That’s the landscape the NCAA created. 

The denial of women’s rights is not just about sports, but future education, safety, dignity and more. Fleming and I both played USAV club volleyball and definitely had to compete against one another before college recruiters. They had to compare the skills I spent my whole life building to something I would never be, a biological male with larger lung capacity, greater height and jumping ability. This could have cost me my college education. 

The ultimate betrayal for female athletes is that we work our whole lives to attain our peak athletic capacity just for the NCAA to replace us with men. 

This past year, women’s indoor volleyball broke attendance records with 92,000 fans at one game. This month, Caitlin Clark continued to kindle the fire, smashing records and bringing a surge to women’s Final Four viewership. This bright light is fueled by one thing: Americans’ interest in women’s sports.

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When the light grows brighter, the things hidden in the dark start to surface. Americans are clearly on the side of keeping men out of women’s sports. But the NCAA refuses to budge. 

As the NCAA Board of Governors convenes this week, they must take this issue seriously. They are now being sued by 16 former athletes, including my friends in the cause, Riley Gaines and Kylee Alons, who competed against Lia Thomas and had to stand aside while a man took the podium and dress in a storage closet to keep their dignity as a biological male invaded their locker room.

The NCAA’s silence speaks volumes to female athletes. In January, when I had the opportunity to discuss the issue with the Chairman of the Board, Baylor University’s Dr. Linda Livingstone, at the annual NCAA meeting, I was shut down and told that it was not the “time or place.”

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When is the time? Where is the place? We will be there to tell the NCAA of the betrayal happening inside, the betrayal female athletes have felt for years. 

The next generation of girls should be excited for the opportunities that lie ahead, but only if this generation does what is right – demand the NCAA follow the lead of the NAIA and keep girls’ sports for girls only.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM MACY PETTY

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