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After running from 'Lia' uproar, NCAA returns and overrules new policy

After running from 'Lia' uproar, NCAA returns and overrules new policy


University of Pennsylvania senior Will Thomas, who is competing as a female named "Lia," will be eligible for Division 1 championships in March after the NCAA overruled a new policy set by USA Swimming.

After running from 'Lia' uproar, NCAA returns and overrules new policy

After the panicking NCAA refused to set tougher testosterone guidelines that would restrict transgender swimmer “Lia” Thomas, it has now decided to take action after USA Swimming set a tougher policy that would have booted the male swimmer from upcoming national championships.

AFN reported in a Jan. 24 story the NCAA was facing an uproar in collegiate swimming after Will Thomas (pictured above) was breaking Ivy League swim records and angering female competitors and their parents. His never-to-be-broken pool records was also upsetting his own female teammates at the University of Pennsylvania, where he had competed on the male swim team until his senior year.

Faced with the demand to take action, and instead of setting new guidelines for male-to-female athletes, the NCAA announced a “sport-by-sport” policy Jan. 19 that punted the responsibility to national sports groups such as USA Swimming.

Now, according to The Washington Times, the NCAA has weaseled its way back into the controversy. USA Swimming announced Feb. 5 that male swimmers would need to keep their testosterone levels under five nanomoles, for at least 36 months, before swimming in top swim meets. That rule would have made Thomas ineligible for Division 1 championships, scheduled for March 16-19, since the previous threshold set by the NCAA was 10 nanomoles, the Times said.

Steve McConkey of 4 Winds Christian Athletics tells AFN the 10-to-5 change would stop a lot of the unfair advantages stronger male athletes are enjoying over female athletes.

“They need to be banned altogether,” McConkey says of the biological males, “but this sure is a start."

Reacting to the NCAA announcement, however, McConkey says female athletes need to realize the only way to stop this is an “uprising” that pushes back on those who are unfairly siding with male athletes over them.

“And once they start getting that message, ‘We're not going to put up with this,’ the athletic bodies will eventually get it,” he says.

That get-tough advice mirrors the opinion of others who have encouraged female athletes to refuse to get in the water or step on the track. But those athletes have said they will be punished for doing so and lose scholarships if they do.

USA Swimming announced its tougher policy after a longtime official, Cynthia Millen, publicly quit in protest to denounce Thomas’s dominating scores and to pressure the national governing body to take action.

“I told my fellow officials that I can no longer participate in a sport which allows biological men to compete against women,” Millen, who worked at USA Swimming for 30 years, told Fox News. “Everything fair about swimming is being destroyed.”

Now that USA Swimming announced new guidelines, and risked backlash and accusations of “transphobia” to do so, it has now witnessed the NCAA overrule it in order to ensure Thomas can compete next month, where he is expected to set championship-level swim records next.