NCAA ratches up pressure on Florida to allow trans athletes to compete in women’s sports

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 5:10 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) - The NCAA is ratcheting up the pressure on universities scheduled to hold championship games, requiring them to reaffirm their commitment to nondiscrimination, including against trans athletes.

Trans activists say it’s further evidence the state will lose money due to its ban on trans athletes in women’s sports, but Republican lawmakers aren’t deterred.

The NCAA is requiring future championship hosts to commit to its nondiscrimination policy, which allows trans women to compete in women’s sports under certain circumstances, but a new state law allows only biological women to compete in women’s sports.

“This legislation has put in peril some of those important championships and sporting events, but really more than anything it’s putting in peril our young people’s opportunities to play on teams and learn critical lessons that come from sports,” said Jon Harris Maurer with Equality Florida.

But supporters of the law, dubbed The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, aren’t backing down.

“If they want the University of Florida or Florida State or our other schools to leave the NCAA, that may be up to them,” said State Representative Randy Fine.

At the time of the bill’s signing, activists estimated the law could cost the state 50 events and $75 million in economic activity.

But so far, championships have continued to be held in the Sunshine State.

Rep. Fine said he believes the association’s threats are a bluff.

“Look, they’re a bunch of clowns and they will fold and we’re not worried about it. Look, we’re going to stand for women,” said Fine.

There’s also a lawsuit filed in federal court challenging the law, which claims it violates Title IX and the 14th Amendment.

Attorney Rosalyn Richter, who is representing the 13-year-old trans teen named in the suit, said rulings from the US Supreme Court and two federal courts have backed up those arguments.

“These types of laws are sex discrimination under Title IX,” said Richter.

But supporters believe the law will be upheld.

“Men should not be able to play women’s sports period,” said Fine.

The state has until August 23 to respond to the suit.

As for the position universities are stuck in, having to decide whether to follow state law or the NCAA, Representative Fine said, “The public universities know who writes the checks”.

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