More than 300 current and past NCAA, Team USA, and international swimmers signed an open letter supporting Lia Thomas, an openly transgender swimmer on the University of Pennsylvania women’s team, on Thursday.
Thomas has set numerous records for Penn’s women’s team, prompting debate over whether she should be permitted to compete.
The NCAA has released a new policy that “aligns transgender student-athlete participation in college sports with recent policy modifications from the United States and International Olympic Committees.” As a result, each sport’s governing body will determine eligibility.
The letter, which was addressed to NCAA officials on Thursday, was organised by Athlete Ally, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group.
“We express our support for Lia Thomas, and all transgender collegiate athletes, who deserve to be able to compete in safe and accepting sporting environments,” the letter states, according to Sports Illustrated. “We implore you not to let political pressure jeopardise the safety and well-being of college athletes around the world.”
It is hoped that the NCAA does not adopt USA Swimming’s guideline in the middle of the season.
Thomas will be permitted to compete in her final Ivy League Championships, though further confirmation is needed.
Thomas is currently waiting to discover if she’ll be able to compete in the NCAA Championships in March.