NAIA, the athletics governing body for Waldorf University, mostly bans transgender athletes from women’s sports

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced a policy Monday that all but bans transgender athletes from women’s sports. The NAIA policy will only allow athletes to participate in NAIA-sponsored women’s sports if their biological sex assigned at birth is female and they have not begun any masculinizing hormone therapy. However, if an athlete has started hormone therapy, that athlete will not be allowed to participate in interscholastic competition but will still be permitted to workout, practice, and participate in team activities.

The NAIA’s Council of Presidents (COP) approved the policy by a 20-0 vote.

The COP is made up of presidents from member institutions across the country. According to the NAIA website, the COP is responsible for all budgetary and fiscal matters, employment and supervision of the president/chief executive officer, and continuing review, evaluation, and strengthening of academic standards.

“We are unwavering in our support of fair competition for our student-athletes,” NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr said in a news release. “It is crucial that NAIA member institutions, conferences, and student-athletes participate in an environment that is equitable and respectful. With input from our member institutions and the Transgender Task Force, the NAIA’s Council of Presidents has confirmed our path forward.”

KIOW reached out to Waldorf University for a comment, and a spokesman for the university said, “The NAIA has requested all media be directed to them as the governing body.”

Cory Westra is the Great Plains Athletic Conference commissioner, where Waldorf University will compete starting in August.

Westra has been the co-director of the NAIA national tournaments for women’s basketball and volleyball, which have been held in Sioux City for the last several years.

Westra says the new policy expands to cover regular-season sports.

Westra says he supports the decision as a lot of work went into it.

The policy takes effect in August at the start of the 2024-2025 fall sports season.


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