Ohio State prepares to change policies for trans athletes

Rebekah Bruesehoff, a transgender student athlete, speaks during a press conference on LGBTQI+ rights, at the United States Capitol on March 08, 2023 in Washington, DC. Bruesehoff spoke out against the proposed nationwide ban on trans sports being considered by Republicans on the House Education and Workforce Committee. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – With federal Title IX regulations looming and proposed state legislation looming, Ohio State University is bracing for potential policy changes for students -transgender athletes.

In a brief update at a board committee meeting last week, Amy Golian, senior associate general counsel and senior assistant vice president of the Ohio State Bureau of Legal Affairs, said the university was about to release the Department of Education’s finalized Title IX. athletics regulations. The proposed regulations prohibit outright bans on the participation of trans athletes, but allow schools, colleges and universities to impose restrictions that serve “important educational purposes.”

“The Department of Education does not require one size fits all, but rather relies on schools to develop a framework that works for them,” Golian told administrators.

In addition to serving important educational interests – which the Department of Education says can include promoting fairness and preventing injury – policies restricting the participation of trans athletes must take into account the unique nature of each sport and the age of the athletes. Restrictions must also minimize harm to trans student-athletes rendered ineligible to play.

The pending regulations come as dozens of bills have been introduced across the United States limiting trans participation in sports. Ohio’s Bill 6, the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” generally prohibits trans girls and women from playing on women’s teams at all educational levels.

Such bans contradict the trans athlete policies of state athletic associations and the NCAA — and are a concern for Ohio’s public colleges and universities.

The updated NCAA policy defers eligibility criteria to national and international governing bodies for each sport. During the 2023-24 season, trans women must submit their testosterone levels before all competitions, their first championship competition and any competition in a non-championship segment. Beginning in the 2024-25 school year, the NCAA will require trans athletes to submit two sport-determined tests per year and within four weeks of championship competition.

In a letter sent to the Ohio House Committee on Higher Education in early May, the intercollegiate council reminded the committee that the NCAA has a “vigorous history” of developing policy for trans athletes — and that the ban unconditional trans women playing on women’s teams will violate the federal government’s mandate.

“The IUC shares the sponsor’s and promoters’ concerns regarding the rights of individual student-athletes,” wrote Laura Lanese, president of the Interuniversity Council. “We ask the committee to carefully consider existing NCAA and federal regulatory frameworks when considering this bill.”

National sport organizations vary widely in their approach to trans athlete eligibility. At the more restrictive end, the US Golf Association requires transgender women to undergo genital surgery and submit all hospital records and clinical notes related to the surgery, as well as provide testosterone levels and proof of hormone therapy, before to participate in a championship competition.

USA Swimming requires transgender women to demonstrate testosterone levels below 5 nanograms per liter — a level between the average amounts for cisgender women and men — for at least three years before applying for eligibility. The swimmers must be vetted by a panel of three medical experts who consider any “competitive advantage” in trans women who have transitioned after puberty.

Several organizations do not have specific policies, including USA Softball, USA Shooting, USA Baseball, and USA Basketball, while others explicitly prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. USA Gymnastics, for example, places no restrictions on the eligibility of trans athletes at most levels of competition.

“Transgender and non-binary athletes at levels other than Elite are permitted to compete without restriction in the gender category with which they identify,” the policy states.

An Ohio State spokesperson did not directly say whether the university would consider establishing its own policies when the federal regulations are released, but he reiterated the university’s preference for these policies are made by sports associations and conferences, not the legislature.

“The enactment of this legislation could render the university non-compliant with NCAA eligibility policies and jeopardize the ability of our student-athletes to compete in the sports they love,” the spokesperson said in an email. -mail.


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