U.S. Senator Calls on NCAA to Protect Female Athletes, Clarify Transgender Locker Room Policy

Nov 17, 2023

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) sent a letter called on the NCAA last month to “stand up for the basic safety of their student athletes” and asked Governor and NCAA President Charlie Baker to “explicitly define” the NCAA’s policy on transgender athletes’ access to locker rooms.

“Yesterday you testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on issues in collegiate athletics. Arguably none is more important than the safety of student athletes,” wrote Senator Hawley. “That is why I asked you about Riley Gaines, and her Senate testimony earlier this year that the NCAA forced her and other female athletes both to accept a biological man in their locker room and to change alongside this person.”

He continued, “When I asked you whether the forced inclusion of biological men in women’s locker rooms remains NCAA policy, you equivocated. You testified that you ‘[didn’t] believe that policy would be the policy that we would use today.’ But you declined to state what the NCAA’s policy actually is. This is your chance. The NCAA has a troubled history of using student athletes for financial gain while ignoring their concerns and needs—and in this case, their basic safety. The American public deserves honest answers.”

In June, Senator Hawley questioned Riley Gaines about her experiences competing against a transgender athlete, and the trauma she and her teammates endured when their privacy was invaded by being forced to undress in front of a biological male. According to Gaines, an NCAA official told her Lia Thomas was allowed in the female locker room due to a rule change that made the facilities ‘unisex.’

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