NCAA could pull major events from Kansas if transgender athlete bill passes

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FILE – In this March 18, 2015, file photo, the NCAA logo is displayed at center court as work continues at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, for the NCAA college basketball tournament. NCAA President Mark Emmert says NCAA Division I basketball tournament games will be played without fans in the arenas because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The NCAA is speaking up in support of transgender athletes and would not support championship events in places that discriminate. The warning comes as Kansas and several other states decide whether to ban transgender athletes from participating in sports.

The NCAA Board of Governors announced it “firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports.”

“When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected. We will continue to closely monitor these situations to determine whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants.”

NCAA Board of Governors

A Kansas bill would ban any transgender athlete biologically born male from participating in women’s sports. The bill requires that Kansas athletic teams sponsored by public schools, or schools that play public schools, must have three categories: male, female, and coed. It would affect teams in elementary school through college. It does not stop biologically-born women from playing in men’s sports.

The bill passed in both the Kansas Senate and House, and is now heading to Gov. Laura Kelly’s desk. However, she implied to KSNT News that she was going to oppose the bill.

“We didn’t bring in a record amount of capital investment to Kansas by antagonizing businesses. I’m going to support bills that bring jobs to Kansas and oppose bills that drive businesses away.”

Gov. Laura Kelly

The NCAA’s current policy allows transgender women to participate in women’s sports in its various divisions, so long as they undergo testosterone suppression treatment.

“Our approach… embraces the evolving science on this issue and is anchored in participation policies of both the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport.”

NCAA Board of Governors

The board also said it has a long-standing policy that provides guidelines on transgender participation in college sports, and also made a handbook on how it includes transgender student-athletes back in 2011:

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