Riley Gaines, Other Female Athletes, Sue NCAA for Allowing Transgender Competitors

Through the lawsuit, the athletes hope ‘to secure for future generations of women the promise of Title IX.’

Former collegiate swimmer Riley Gaines is sworn in during a House Oversight Subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services hearing on Capitol Hill on Dec. 5, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
Former collegiate swimmer Riley Gaines is sworn in during a House Oversight Subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services hearing on Capitol Hill on Dec. 5, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

Riley Gaines and more than a dozen other female athletes filed a lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) on Thursday, alleging that allowing men to compete in women’s competitions denies women protections promised under Title IX.

In a post on X, Gaines, a former swimmer with the University of Kentucky, announced the suit.

“It’s official. I’m suing the NCAA along with 15 other collegiate athletes who have lost out on titles, records, and roster spots to men posing as women. The NCAA continues to explicitly violate the federal civil rights law of Title IX. About time someone did something about it,” Gaines posted.

The athletes’ lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta, alleges that “harm” is done to women due to “NCAA’s radical departure from Title IX’s original meaning.” This harm included “subjecting women to a loss of their constitutional right to bodily privacy.”

“Title IX was enacted by Congress to increase women’s opportunities; therefore, no policy which authorizes males to take the place of women on women’s college sports teams or in women’s college sports locker rooms is permissible under Title IX,” the complaint read.

Through the lawsuit, the athletes hope “to secure for future generations of women the promise of Title IX.”

The lawsuit comes in the wake of a controversy where Gaines made headlines for speaking out after being forced to compete against Lia Thomas, a transgender athlete. Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win a women’s national championship.

“The secret of Thomas’ meteoric ascendance and dominance in NCAA women’s swimming was retained male advantage,” the complaint read.

The plaintiffs, 16 female athletes, accused the NCAA in the lawsuit of imposing a “radical anti-woman agenda” on college sports, defining women “as a testosterone level,” and “permitting men to compete on women’s teams.”

Georgia Tech University, the University of Georgia, and the University of North Georgia were also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

The athletes also accused the NCAA of “destroying female safe spaces in women’s lockers by authorizing naked men possessing full male genitalia to disrobe in front of non-consenting college women and creating situations in which unwilling female college athletes unwittingly or reluctantly expose their naked or partially clad bodies to males, subjecting women to a loss of their constitutional right to bodily privacy.”

The lawsuit further alleges that the NCAA “has aligned with the most radical elements of the so-called diversity, equity, and inclusion agenda” on college campuses in order to increase its “campus approval ratings” and ultimately further what the lawsuit calls “the NCAA’s relentless drive to monetize collegiate sport, and diverting attention from the financial exploitation of college athletes.”

The athletes alleged that this happens “all at the expense of female student-athletes.”

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