Penn Athletics and the Ivy League vowed support for transgender athletes following the NCAA updating its transgender participation policy.
The updated policy announcement came as Lia Thomas emerged as a top swimmer in Division I. The rule came into the spotlight as Thomas started to break records. She was on the men’s team for her first three years but started on the Quakers’ women’s team this season after transitioning.
Her success this year ignited criticism over allowing transgender women to compete against biological females. Women’s sports advocates and parents at Penn have recently spoken out against the NCAA and its rules on transgender student-athlete participation.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM
Penn’s Lia Thomas after competing against Yale and Dartmouth on the University of Pennsylvania campus on Jan. 8, 2022, in Philadelphia. (Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
“Penn Athletics is aware of the NCAA’s new transgender participation policy. In support of our student-athlete, Lia Thomas, we will work with the NCAA regarding her participation under the newly adopted standards for the 2022 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship,” Penn Athletics said in a statement obtained by Fox News.
The Ivy League added: “The Ivy League is aware of yesterday’s NCAA Board of Governors’ decision to update its transgender policies beginning with the 2022 NCAA Winter Championships. The league will work with the University of Pennsylvania and its other member institutions to determine the mid-year eligibility impact to any of its transgender student-athletes who might be affected by this decision and will provide an update when appropriate.”
Penn is set to take on Harvard in a meet on Saturday. The team beat Dartmouth but lost to Yale in a tri-meet earlier this month.
The new NCAA policy means swimming athletes will be governed by USA Swimming policies, which follow the International Olympic Committee.
NCAA CHANGES TRANSGENDER ATHLETE PARTICIPATION POLICY AMID CALLS FOR REEVALUATION
Lia Thomas smiles after winning the 200-meter freestyle event against Yale and Dartmouth at the University of Pennsylvania on Jan. 8, 2022, in Philadelphia. (Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
The IOC policy updated their transgender participation policy in November 2021, refraining from the focus on testosterone levels to determine eligibility, according to The Washington Post. The IOC urged the governing bodies of each individual sport to create the rules while offering assistance.
“Every athlete has the right to practice sport without discrimination and in a way that respects their health, safety and dignity,” the updated rules stated. “At the same time the credibility of competitive sport – and particularly high-level sporting competitions – relies on a level playing field where no athlete has an unfair or disproportionate advantage over the rest.”
Richard Budgett, the IOC’s medical and scientific director, said at the time it was important to look at broader terms rather than just testosterone levels.
“It’s important we broaden the evidence base. There is some interesting research that needs to come to conclusion, and that will give us much more information about performance, which is the issue which is really key to determining eligibility,” Budgett said.
According to Swim Swam, an NCAA spokesperson said the “previously established IOC policy criteria” referred to the November 2021 guidance.
Lia Thomas swims for Penn. (Penn Athletics)
The rules previously stated that trans female athletes must demonstrate a testosterone level serum “below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months.”
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The guidance was seemingly altered following Laurel Hubbard’s historic appearance at the Olympics.