NAIA policy bans transgender athletes from women’s sports, but not men’s

NAIA policy bans transgender athletes from women’s sports, but not men’s

A comprehensive look of the day's local, regional and national news, detailed events, late-breaking stories and weather updates are provided by the ABC 6 News Team.

(ABC 6 News) – On Monday, April 8, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Council of Presidents, which governs 241 small colleges, announced they have adopted a new policy on transgender athletes’ participation.

Under the new policy, all athletes (regardless of sex or gender) are able to participate in NAIA-sponsored men’s sports, however only cisgender women may participate in women’s sports, barring transgender women from participating in their chosen gender’s sport.

— RELATED: NAIA all but bans transgender athletes from women’s sports. NCAA vows to ensure ‘fair competition’

The policy makes an exception for transgender men. Under the new policy, an assigned female at birth (AFAB) student may participate in women’s if they have not begun masculinizing hormone therapy.

After beginning masculinizing hormone therapy, an AFAB athlete may continue in internal institution activities (non-external competitions). This includes, workouts, practices and team activities.

AFAB athletes may participate in an external competition if it is not a countable contest, such as a scrimmage match.

The NAIA established a Transgender Task Force in 2022, tasked with creating a policy recommendation that focused on “creating fairness in competition, treating individuals with respect and dignity and ensuring transparent efforts and encouraging member feedback.”

“It is crucial that NAIA member institutions, conferences, and student-athletes participate in an environment that is equitable and respectful,” said NAIA president and CEO Jim Carr. “With input from our member institutions and the Transgender Task Force, the NAIA’s Council of Presidents has confirmed our path forward.”

According to the NAIA, the updated policy aims to give all athletes fair competition while still complying with Title IX.

The policy will not apply to competitive dance or cheer, as both are co-ed and already mix genders.

If an NAIA institution has a student athlete who has begun masculinizing hormonal therapy, they must notify the NAIA office.

The policy remains subject to further review.