The outraged parents of University of Pennsylvania swimmers have called on the NCAA and officials at UPenn to make changes to the rules that allow transgender swimmer Lia Thomas to dominate the competition.
Biological-male Thomas competed as a man until last year, before switching to the female team and smashing several records.
“At stake here is the integrity of women’s sports,” the parents wrote in a letter to the NCAA and UPenn.
“The precedent being set, one in which women do not have a protected and equitable space to compete, is a direct threat to female athletes in every sport.
“What are the boundaries?
“How is this in line with the NCAA’s commitment to providing a fair environment for student-athletes?
“It is the responsibility of the NCAA to address the matter with an official statement.
“As the governing body, it is unfair and irresponsible to leave the onus on Lia, Lia’s teammates, Lia’s coaches, UPenn athletics and the Ivy League.
“And it is unfair and irresponsible to Lia to allow the media to dictate the narrative without the participation of the NCAA.”
One parent, who asked not to be identified told the DailyMail.com, said “The swimmers have mixed feelings.
“Many of them want to speak up, but they don’t because they believe they’ll be ostracized.
“Everybody is scared.
“Parents are also scared that the kids will be harmed.
“We are paying $80,000 for this school.
“Their life will be impacted.”
One mother told The Daily Mail: “I think that transgender people have a right to compete, but they need to have their own league.
“Being fair to one group of people shouldn’t take rights away from another group, and that’s what’s happening here.
“The NCAA obviously didn’t think much about the rules they set.
“It’s not fair to the women on the team and it’s not fair to Lia as well.
“She went through transition, and I admire her bravery.
“But the records she sets now are not valued records, female records.”
The letter was sent on Dec 5.
The NCAA did not respond but The University of Pennsylvania did:
“Please know that we fully support all our swimming student-athletes and want to help our community navigate Lia’s success in the pool this winter.
Penn Athletics is committed to being a welcoming and inclusive environment for all our student-athletes, coaches and staff and we hold true to that commitment today and in the future.
“We’ve encouraged our student-athletes to utilize the robust resources available to them at Penn, and I’d like to share them with you as well.”
According to the New York Post: “In the finals, Thomas notched a winning time of 4:34.06 — good enough for a new Ivy League record. The swimmer continued smashing records on Saturday with a nearly 7-second victory in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:41.93 — representing the fastest finish in the country, the school said.”
Lia Thomas said to Penn Today earlier: “One of my big concerns for trans people is feeling alone. Even if you don’t pay attention to the news about states proposing and passing vicious anti-trans legislation, it can feel very lonely and overwhelming.
“Swimming is a huge part of my life and who I am.
“I’ve been a swimmer since I was five years old.
“The process of coming out as being trans and continuing to swim was a lot of uncertainty and unknown around an area that’s usually really solid.
“Realizing I was trans threw that into question. Was I going to keep swimming? What did that look like?
“Being trans has not affected my ability to do this sport and being able to continue is very rewarding,” she said.
PennAthletics said:”’Because of her strong swims in the 200 and 500 free this weekend, she will have a chance to become the first transgender student-athlete to be a Division I All American or even national champion.”
UPenn transgender swimmer Lia Thomas says it's completely fair to compete against women:
"Everybody is able to compete in the category they’re most comfortable with unless there’s a proven unfair advantage that they have." pic.twitter.com/JGzeUZ0SnG
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) December 9, 2021
UPenn parents pen poignant letter demanding the NCAA change rules for trans athlete Lia Thomas https://t.co/A8LcmObLyQ
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) December 16, 2021