Independent Council on Women’s Sports, Georgia Attorney General Challenge NCAA’s Transgender Policy

Mar 22, 2024

The Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS) has announced funding support for a lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of 16 former and current female collegiate athletes includes Riley Gaines (Swimmer, Gallatin, TN), Reka Gyorgy (Swimmer, Blacksburg, VA), Kylee Alons (Swimmer, Raleigh, NC), Kaitlyn Wheeler (Swimmer, Springfield, IL), Ainsley Erzen (Track and Soccer, Des Moines, IA), Ellie Eades (Tennis, Floyds Knobs, IN), Lily Mullens (Swimmer, North Canton, OH), Susanna Price (Track & Field, Swimmer, Los Alamos, NM), Carter Satterfield (Swimmer, Cary, NC), Kate Pearson (Swimmer, Virginia Beach, VA), Katie Blankinship (Swimmer, Woodstock, GA), Julianna Morrow (Swimmer, Mooresville, NC), and four other athletes proceeding under pseudonyms to protect them from retaliation and reprisal.

“This lawsuit against the NCAA isn’t just about competition; it’s a fight for the very essence of women’s sports,” said ICONS Co-Founder Marshi Smith, a collegiate All-American and NCAA national champion swimmer. “We’re standing up for justice and the rights of female athletes to compete on a level playing field. It’s about preserving the legacy of Title IX and ensuring that the future of women’s sports is as bright as its past.”

The athletes are challenging NCAA regulations “allowing male athletes to compete in women’s sports.” This suit follows in the wake of a legal demand letter, sent by ICONS in 2023.The lawsuit seeks to change the NCAA’s policies that allow male athletes who identify as transgender to participate in women’s sports. The plaintiffs, representing a coalition of female athletes across multiple sports, argue the NCAA’s regulations “compromise the fairness and integrity of women’s competitive sports and discriminate against women, violating Title IX’s core principles,” according to a press release.

The lawsuit’s lead attorney, former United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) General Counsel Bill Bock, resigned from the NCAA Committee on Infractions in February 2024 over NCAA regulations permitting men who identify as transgender to compete in women’s athletics.

“By challenging the NCAA’s draconian and discriminatory policies, we’re sending a clear message: the integrity of women’s sports is non-negotiable,” said ICONS Co-Founder Kim Jones, who is a collegiate tennis All-American and former U.S. National Team member. “We are committed to defending the hard-won rights of women athletes everywhere. This isn’t just a legal battle; it’s a moral stand for equality and justice in sports.”

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr Rails Against NCAA

Carr issued the following statement last week:

“Today I call on the NCAA to do the right thing and repeal the rule that allows biological males to participate in women’s sports. Our office is exploring all legal options available to end this absurdity, and we will continue fighting for women’s rights to fair competition.”

Carr has repeatedly pushed back against the Biden administration to defend Title IX protections for female athletes.

Carr has also filed suit to stop the Biden administration from enforcing new and expansive interpretations of antidiscrimination laws that threaten women’s sports. A copy of that lawsuit can be found here.

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