NAIA’s new rules on transgender people in women’s sports rebuke the Left’s insanity

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, one of college sports’ governing bodies, announced this week that it would not allow male-bodied athletes to compete in women’s sports, pointing to the importance of “fair and safe competition for all student-athletes.” The decision is a welcome relief in a society that refuses to see sense on this topic.

The NAIA governs 249 smaller, mostly private colleges whose athletic programs would rank in the NCAA‘s Division 2 or 3 categories. The NAIA’s new rule on transgender participation comes after the NCAA declined to clarify or revise its own guidance on whether to allow transgender athletes to compete in women’s sports. As it stands, the NCAA mandates a sport-by-sport approach that depends largely on what other athletic governing bodies have already decided. 

The NCAA’s refusal to issue clear rules on this is driven by cowardice. As the NAIA made clear this week, the question of transgender participation in women’s sports is not complicated. It’s actually quite simple. Should men who identify as women but still enjoy the physical and hormonal advantages of being men compete against comparably disadvantaged women? And should women be required to place themselves at risk in their private spaces and in sporting events to accommodate these men?

The answer to any person whose common sense hasn’t been pummeled into submission by the Left would, of course, be “no.” 

That answer is also backed by legal precedent. And the NAIA’s ruling reflects this fact. “For us, we believed our first responsibility was to create fairness and competition in the NAIA. … We also think it aligns with the reasons Title IX was created. You’re allowed to have separate but equal opportunities for women to compete,” NAIA President Jim Carr explained. 

Indeed, that is the very reason Title IX was passed — to ensure that women were granted privacy, safety, and fair competition, all of which are now being undermined by a radical ideology that cares only about its own power. 

The NAIA took all of this into consideration as it debated how to deal with transgender athletes best. According to the head of the NAIA Council of Presidents, Amy Novak, the governing body “spent nearly two years reviewing research, meeting with experts to better understand potential policy challenges, and obtaining feedback from multiple membership groups.” And all of the evidence pointed to one very simple solution: Men, no matter how they “identify,” cannot and should not be allowed to compete against women.


The result is a clear set of guidelines and expectations, approved in a unanimous vote by the NAIA’s Council of Presidents, that leaves no room for equivocating. Unlike the NCAA, for example, the NAIA’s standards do not make exceptions for male-bodied athletes who stop taking testosterone and reach a certain hormonal threshold. Men will not be allowed to compete against women — period. The rules also bar female athletes who start taking testosterone from competing in women’s sports. 

This is an excellent step toward busting the Left’s gender insanity and an example bigger sports organizations should follow. Again, the question at the heart of this debate is quite simple: Do women have a right to safety and fair competition or not?

Kaylee McGhee White is the editor of Restoring America for the Washington Examiner and a senior fellow for the Independent Women’s Forum.

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