MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Could a show of support from the NCAA for transgender athletes endanger the chance for championships in the Mid-South?
“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.”
All three states in the Mid-South have recently passed laws that would ban transgender female athletes from competing in women’s sports. In Tennessee House, Bill 3 is only directed towards middle school or high school students.
In Mississippi and Arkansas, the bills passed impact public schools and colleges.
President of Rhodes College Marjorie Hass says they stand with the NCAA.
”Rhodes College is very pleased to see the NCAA continuing to affirm the rights and dignity of our trans-student-athletes,” said Hass.
Hass says they should be able to host championship events because they follow NCAA policy.
WMC wanted to know if individual Mid-South schools and championship events could be impacted even if they follow NCAA policy, due to the state laws.
We asked the NCAA if this meant championships would not be able to be held in Arkansas, Mississippi or Tennessee.
We are awaiting a response.
Tennessee State Senator Raumesh Akbari is glad the association, which governs college sports, has stood up and said something and says she still doesn’t agree with the bill passed in Tennessee.
“These are unnecessary cultural wars that truly do not impact the sporting arena so why are we putting ourselves at states where we are discriminating against athletes particularly when the body that governs that sport is okay with them playing,” said Akbari.
Governors in all three states have said they support the laws because they preserve women’s athletics and ensure fair competition.
The NCAA says its policy for women’s sports is more inclusive, and that they require “testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports.”
”It’s very important to know that there’s no conflict there the NCAA has found ways to expand opportunities for women and athletes without discriminating against trans athletes,” said Hass.
WMC reached out to all three governors and only heard back from Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
“It is disappointing to see the NCAA take this punitive approach. Sports does not need to disenfranchise a state just because it passes a law that the NCAA finds objectionable.”
WMC also reached out to Ole Miss and UofM about how this could impact them but did not hear back.