Athlete Ally, a sports advocacy group, coordinated to send letters to the NCAA advocating against a ban for transgender college athletes. Hundreds of former and current athletes, including Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird, signed the letters.

The letters were sent to the NCAA through corporations, academics and athletes, calling for the league to cease considerations to ban transgender athletes and instead focus on welcoming them.

“We implore you, the NCAA’s highest governing body and members of an organization focused on supporting the wellbeing of not just athletes but sport itself, to focus on the long-documented needs of NCAA athletes of all genders,” Athlete Ally’s letter stated. “We implore you to focus efforts on developing policies driven by research, education, collaboration, and policy to promote a healthy and safe environment for all athletes, NOT discriminatory attempts to sideline an entire group of athletes from the sports they love.”

The NCAA last took measures to address transgender athletes in 2022, when the organization issued a rule requiring that transgender women receive at least one year of testosterone suppression treatment before competing. The debate has raged on since, however, and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) took a drastic step earlier this month, banning transgender athletes outright.

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“We know there are a lot of different opinions out there,” NAIA president Jim Carr told CBS Sports. “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.”

The NAIA’s decision has pressured the NCAA to return to the issue, with some demanding that the organization follow suit. Athlete Ally, along with hundreds of signatory athletes, has made its stance clear as well.

“To deny trans athletes the freedom to be their authentic selves and participate in the sport they love goes against the principles of Olympism: that sport is a human right and that sport is for all,” the letter went on to state.

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