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NCAA releases statement on states targeting transgender athletes

The NCAA will only host championships where hosts do not discriminate against athletes, the board of governors said Monday.

ARKANSAS, USA — After calls to address states that have laws banning transgender athletes from participating in sports, the NCAA Board of Governors has released a statement on the matter. 

The NCAA has had a transgender inclusion policy since 2011 and requires states that host championships to provide an environment that is “safe, healthy and free of discrimination.”

In March, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed Senate Bill 354 banning transgender women and girls from playing school sports based on their gender identity. The bill states that transgender women and girls would have a biological advantage over other female competitors, making it an uneven playing field. The ban applies to transgender girls in elementary, middle and high schools as well as colleges.

Last week Arkansas lawmakers vetoed Hutchinson to pass legislation banning gender-affirming treatments for transgender youths in the state. 

The NCAA released the following statement Monday (April 12):

"The NCAA Board of Governors firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports. This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition.

The NCAA has a long-standing policy that provides a more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports. Our approach — which requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports — embraces the evolving science on this issue and is anchored in participation policies of both the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport. Our clear expectation as the Association’s top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to ensuring that NCAA championships are open for all who earn the right to compete in them.

When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected. We will continue to closely monitor these situations to determine whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants."

Arkansas is a contender to host NCAA baseball and softball regionals and super regionals this year. 

RELATED: Arkansas lawmakers override Gov. Hutchinson's veto on youth transgender care

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