The NCAA appears to have passed the buck when it comes to one of the major pressing issues of college athletics. As the push for transgender inclusion continues, sports across all spectrums have become a risk for losing fairness and equality. Countless athletes from college as well as former Olympians such as Caitlyn Jenner have spoken out regarding the issue. Now, the NCAA has issued a new policy regarding their stance on transgender participation. The decision: it appears they are not willing to take a definitive stance and have passed the responsibility (and therefore the blame either way) onto others.
The NCAA’s Board of Governors passed a policy which makes each individual sport’s governing body responsible for the decision as to how they handle transgender athletes. The NCAA claimed the new policy was bringing college athletics closer to Olympic standards, since the majority of Olympic athletes were college athletes. In reality, it allows the organization to wash its hands of responsibility regarding how college athletics addresses this issue which many athletes have said provides an unfair advantage for some transgender competitors.
John DeGioria, president of Georgetown University and NCAA board chairman, reaffirmed the NCAA’s support of transgender athletes while simultaneously passing the responsibility off to others. Under the new NCAA policy, the national governing body of each individual sport will hold the responsibility to make the determination as to how they handle transgender athletes.
Previously, the NCAA had required one year of testosterone suppression therapy for transgender women athletes prior to competing in women’s sports.
Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner, born William Bruce Jenner, publicly came out as a transgender woman in April 2015 and has spoken out to say transgender athletes should not compete in women’s sports because of the unfair advantage biologically someone who was born male could have over females. Under the new policy, it appears there is the potential for more division than unity in college sports. For example, the governing board of freestyle swimming could decide to allow transgender women to compete in women’s sports while the governing board of basketball could deny transgender women the opportunity to compete on a women’s team. This new policy will usher in a completely new period of chaos and confusion.
Additionally, the refusal of the NCAA to deny transgender athletes to ability to compete in women’s sports creates an entirely new issue for Christians. Despite the advocacy of some Church leaders for more inclusion of LGBTQ individuals, this new policy paves the path for endorsement and acceptance of transgender individuals to promote their lifestyle and therefore promoting sin. In June 2019, the Vatican issued a document titled “Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education” which promoted the need to love individuals who are LGBTQ while simultaneously maintaining there is no distinction from biological sex and gender. It asserts the aim and purpose of transgender identity seeks to “annihilate the concept of nature”. Official Church teachings have also called homosexuality “intrinsically disordered”, a “moral evil” and rejected the teachings of gender identity theory.
We, as Christians, are to view the events and issues of today in light of Church teaching and Biblical truth. As Christians, we should stand opposed to sin and the promotion of sin. Therefore, we should be opposed to transgender athletes being allowed to compete in women’s sports not only because of the unfair advantage given to these athletes (as evidenced with Penn’s Lia Thomas who started breaking Ivy League records while competing against women after transitioning to a woman) but because allowing transgender women to compete in women’s sports promotes the concept that to be transgender is acceptable and normal. It’s not normal and it should not be acceptable as Christians.
I agree, and understand, the issue is complex and involves a lot of emotions for those who have loved ones who are LGBTQ or those who are struggling with this lifestyle. Our love and compassion for these individuals should never overshadow the need to issue a call for repentance and urge those in this lifestyle to turn to Christ. To point one towards Christ, urge repentance, and encourage a life of holiness is the greatest way we can show love. It’s the highest form of love we can give to another is to help them draw near to Christ and become saints. There is no sainthood without repentance.
In light of the new NCAA policy, Christians should pray for the governing boards of each individual sport. We should pray each board chooses to reject any policy which would promote transgenderism and that the boards would accept policies which would uphold the dignity of each individual as they are created by God.