NCAA President Charlie Baker has distanced himself from the policies of his predecessor, Mark Emmert, related to transgender athletes competing in women’s sports. During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the future of college sports, Baker addressed the debate surrounding transgender athletes’ participation in women’s sports.
“I wasn’t there. I was still governor of the commonwealth. What I will say is, we have very specific rules and standards around the safety and security of all our student athletes, and anyone who hosts one of our national championships has to accept that they know what they are and then abide by them accordingly.”
“I don’t believe that policy would be the policy we would use today,” he continued.
Baker mentioned that he would not defend the policies of 2022 but highlighted that specific rules and standards exist regarding the safety and security of all student athletes. He stated that the policy used in 2022 would not be the one in use today.
Former NCAA Division I swimmer Paula Scanlan, who was a teammate of Lia Thomas, testified earlier about her experiences with Thomas in the locker room. She raised concerns about transgender athletes’ participation in women’s sports and their impact on her and her teammates.
“My teammates and I were forced to undress in the presence of Lia, a 6-foot-4-tall biological male, fully intact with male genitalia, 18 times per week,” Scanlan said in part.
“Some girls opted to change in bathroom stalls, and others used the family bathroom to avoid this. When we tried to voice our concerns to the athletic department, we were told that Lia’s swimming and being in our locker room was a non-negotiable, and we were offered psychological services to attempt to re-educate us to become comfortable with the idea of undressing in front of a male.”
Baker emphasized that current policies regarding transgender athletes are more restrictive and that nobody would be forced into an uncomfortable situation. He also mentioned that the standards for transgender athletes in women’s sports have been adjusted based on conversations with other governing bodies.
The debate on transgender athletes’ participation in women’s sports remains a contentious issue and continues to evolve as new policies and guidelines are developed.