Sour grapes or a courageous stand? Depends on where one stands on this controversy, one which the NCAA could resolve quickly and equitably — if it were more concerned with female athletes than political correctness. One female athlete who lost out on competing in the NCAA championships due to transgender swimmer Lia Thomas’ participation blasted the league on Instagram for allowing biological males to marginalize women in athletic competition:
A Virginia Tech swimmer blasted the NCAA over its rule allowing transgender women to compete against biological women after she came up short in a championship qualifying race that was dominated by University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas.
Reka Gyorgy leveled the criticism in a post to her private Instagram account after missing the cut on Thursday to compete in the finals of the 500 free at the NCAA Championships, Fox News reported.
“It doesn’t promote our sport in a good way and I think it is disrespectful against the biologically female swimmers who are competing in the NCAA,” Gyorgy said of the rule that has received considerable scrutiny since Thomas has smashed records in her first season competing at the collegiate level as a transgender woman.
Gyorgy also placed blame on Thomas for her failure to qualify. The Virginia Tech swimmer said she felt the last spot to get into the final was taken from her “because of the NCAA’s decision to let someone who is not a biological female compete.”
Gyorgy, who represented Hungary in the 2016 Rio Olympics, expanded on her thoughts in the Instagram post. She gave her “respect” to Thomas, but argued that a fully mature biological male has no place in women’s sports, and that her spot in the finals was “stolen” by the NCAA’s refusal to recognize biological fact over cultural pressure. It’s not the fault of a “specific athlete,” Gyorgy emphasizes, but the fault of the governing body that allows him to compete in women’s sports:
WOW: Virginia Tech swimmer Reka Gyorgy says her finals spot was stolen from her by Lia Thomas because of "the @NCAA's decision to let someone who is not a biological female to compete." pic.twitter.com/vrtEfqZ0LW
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) March 20, 2022
A Twitter thread that may or may not have originated with Gyorgy suggested that female athletes might need to strike to get the NCAA to take it seriously:
The swimmer doubled down on her letter with a Twitter post that read: “My finals spot was stolen by Lia Thomas, who is a biological male. Until we all refuse to compete nothing will change. Thanks for all the support retweets and follows I wont stop fighting.” …
“One spot was taken away from the girl who got 9th in the 500 free and didn’t make it back to the A final, preventing her from being an All-American,” she added.
“Every event that transgender athletes competed in was one spot taken away from biological females throughout the meet.
“I ask that the @NCAA takes time to think about all the other biological women in swimming, try to think how they would feel if they would be in our shoes. Make the right changes for our sport and for a better future in swimming.”
There was some confusion about the provenance of the Twitter argument. However, Gyorgy’s Instagram message got support from another NCAA athlete that pushed back against the NCAA’s betrayal two years ago, and who wants to re-up her effort to make changes:
.@linneasaltz to the NCAA: “I fear that in the decades following I will not be able to look at the Hall of Fame, not only at my own institution but all institutions across the nation, and see women being awarded for the accomplishments they worked so hard to achieve in the NCAA.” https://t.co/rilpkVTKmd
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) March 20, 2022
The irony of this is that the NCAA is ignoring the very basis for ensuring women’s sports exists at all. Congress passed Title IX decades ago to level the playing field for women at colleges and universities that accept any federal funding (almost all of them), including but not limited to school-sponsored sports. Those schools had until then focused almost exclusively on male-dominated popular sports, and arguably still do today to some prohibited amount. Technically women could have tried out for those teams, but the biological differences between men and women would have kept the latter off the playing fields entirely. Title IX forces schools to offer equal openings for athletic participation, a system which sometimes forces cuts to mens’ programs but which largely forced colleges and universities to expand funding for women’s sports teams.
The truth in this case is just as obvious, and Lia Thomas’ dominance essentially proves the point. The core truth is that biological sex is real, innate, and confers physical differences that matter in competition. A male athlete past puberty has significant and insurmountable advantages over female athletes in most sports, so the only way to keep women on those playing fields (and pools) is to limit women’s competition in those sports to biological females. Testosterone limits don’t counter those advantages, and it’s not even clear that Thomas has transitioned to that extent. Nor should Thomas be forced to do so in order to compete athletically. Thomas can compete as a biological male at any time, and in fact that’s exactly what Thomas did until recently.
That brings us to the obvious solution at the NCAA. Why not just create a transgender class for competition? Maintain the biological classes but make a transgender competition class entirely optional. That would allow for actual and honest competition rather than the mockery Thomas and others make of women’s sports and their records. The NCAA won’t do this because they value the approbation of progressive elites and activists over truth and their mission to protect women’s access to competition.
It’s probably true that Gyorgy’s complaint is based in part on sour grapes. But if so, it’s only because the NCAA is shoving those grapes down the throats of female athletes across all competitions with its absurd policies of allowing biological males to marginalize them.