Penn pledges to work with NCAA and support transgender swimmer |

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The University of Pennsylvania said it will work with the NCAA on its newly adopted standards for transgender athletes.

Swimmer Lia Thomas, who competed for Penn’s men’s team before transitioning, qualified to compete in the 2022 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in March. She is set to compete in the 200-yard, 500-yard and 1,650 women’s freestyle yards.

“Penn Athletics is aware of the NCAA’s new transgender participation policy,” the Ivy League school said in a statement Thursday. “In support of our student-athlete, Lia Thomas, we will be working with the NCAA regarding her participation as part of the newly adopted standards for the 2022 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship.”

Under the new guidelines, approved by the NCAA Board of Governors on Wednesday, transgender participation for each sport will be determined by the sport’s national governing body policy, subject to review and recommendation by an NCAA committee. to the Board of Governors.

Where there is no national governing body, the policy of the international federation for that sport would be in place. If there is no international federation policy, the previously established IOC policy criteria would take over.

“About 80% of U.S. Olympians are current or former college athletes,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement announcing the guidelines. “This policy alignment provides consistency and further strengthens the relationship between college sports and the US Olympics.”

The NCAA policy is effective immediately, beginning with the 2022 winter championships. Penn did not immediately respond to requests for comment on how the policy would affect Thomas.

NCAA rules on transgender athletes came back to the fore when Thomas started breaking records this year. She was on the men’s team her first three years, but after the transition she switched to the women’s team.

The Board of Governors suggests that NCAA divisions allow additional eligibility if a transgender student-athlete loses eligibility due to the policy change. This flexibility is provided they meet the new NCAA guidelines.

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Maria D. Ervin