NCAA warns Texas about anti-transgender bills

It’s not just the voter suppression bills that will do great harm to the state of Texas and its people if the Republicans ram them through.

Amid all the talk of boycotts and corporate criticism of election bills going through the Texas Legislature, major resistance is also shaping up to another top priority of the Republican state lawmakers.

With the Texas Senate cued up to debate a bill this week that would ban transgender girls from competing in girls’ interscholastic sports, the NCAA recently issued a stern warning that they are watching the legislation.

“The NCAA continues to closely monitor state bills that impact transgender student-athlete participation,” NCAA officials said in a statement to Hearst Newspapers. “The NCAA believes in fair and respectful student-athlete participation at all levels of sport. The association’s transgender student-athlete participation policy and other diversity policies are designed to facilitate and support inclusion.”

The NCAA policies allow transgender athletes to participate without limitations.

It is very similar to the statements the NCAA put out just before Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a transgender bill similar to the one Texas is considering and one that South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem backed away from while warning of an unwinnable showdown with the college sports association.

SB 29, sponsored by Lubbock Republican Sen. Charles Perry would ban a student from participating in a sport “opposite to the student’s biological sex as determined at the student’s birth…”


Critics of the Texas legislation and others like it say it’s all part of a wave of bills in statehouses around the nation that are not only discriminatory against transgender children, but dangerous to them.

“This is a moment of national crisis where the rights and the very existence of transgender young people are under attack,” said Alphonso David, president of Human Rights Council, a national group that fights violence, discrimination and fear of LGBTQ people. “Like the bathroom bills and the bills targeting marriage equality before them, these bills are nothing more than a coordinated effort by anti-LGBTQ extremists spreading fear and misinformation about transgender people in order to score cheap political points.”


The NCAA has been a notable voice against anti-transgender legislation. In 2017, it pulled major sporting events out of North Carolina because of that state passing a version of the bathroom bill. Eventually, North Carolina lawmakers amended the legislation to end the boycott.

The NCAA has major financial commitments in Texas. The men’s basketball Final Four is scheduled to be in Houston in 2023 and then in San Antonio again in 2025. Dallas hosts the women’s Final Four in 2023, and the College Football Championship is set for Houston in 2024.

In 2017, studies suggested Texas could lose nearly $250 million if the Final Four was taken away then. With three Final Fours and the football championships, Texas would be looking at more than $1 billion in economic impact.

“The NCAA believes diversity and inclusion improve the learning environment and it encourages its member colleges and universities to support the well-being of all student-athletes,” the NCAA said in its recent statement to Hearst Newspapers about Texas’ transgender legislation.

That was an early story. The Trib filed a little later, and the NCAA was a bit more specific this time.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association Board of Governors said it will only hold college championships in states where transgender student-athletes can participate without discrimination. The Monday warning sets the stage for a political fight with multiple states, including Texas, that are considering bills in their legislatures that would require students to play sports with only teammates who align with their biological sex.

“Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport,” the NCAA statement said. “Our clear expectation as the Association’s top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to ensuring that NCAA championships are open for all who earn the right to compete in them.”

See here for the preview. I for one would very much like these sporting events to be in our cities in those years. But if the Lege follows through on these terrible, harmful bills then the NCAA absolutely should follow through and pull them all until such time as these bills are repealed.

While the legislation has seen some traction in the upper chamber, it’s unclear whether there will be support in the House, where similar bills have yet to get assigned a committee hearing.

In the past, Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, has pushed back against bills that would weaken protections for LGBTQ people. After the Senate passed a bill in 2019 that removed nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation, the House State Affairs Committee, which Phelan chaired, had the language reinstated.

Phelan said in an interview at the time that he was “done talking about bashing on the gay community.”

“It’s completely unacceptable,” he said. “This is 2019.”

I would have thought we’d learned this lesson in 2017, but apparently some lessons need to be learned the hard way. We still have a chance to escape that fate, but if we don’t it’s 100% on the Republicans. I hope Dade Phelan meant what he said, but it remains to be seen. To learn more and hear from the advocates of the transgender children who are being targeted by our Legislature, you can follow Rebecca Marques, Jessica Shortall, Equality Texas (the woman you see testifying in that video is my friend Mandy Giles), Kimberly Shappley, and Amber Briggle on Twitter. USA Today, the Texas Signal, and Mother Jones have more.

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18 Responses to NCAA warns Texas about anti-transgender bills

  1. brad says:

    But it is okay to slyly restrict voting for people of color.

    NCAA, ball is in your court.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    I love the woke on woke attacks. People here are actually cheering for economic warfare against their own state and own city. It would be like sailors on a ship cheering and hoping for a friendly fire submarine torpedo attack.

    I think we should coin a term for that…..let’s call it the Stacey Abrams gambit, calling in an airstrike on our own position.

  3. C.L. says:

    As long as corporations are people (thank you, Citizens United), as long as the NCAA gets to choose where tournaments are played, as long as the GOP continues to push forth legislation designed to limit voter access (based on an unproven lie of rampant voter fraud)…

    Pass stupid laws and this is what happens.

  4. voter_worker says:

    When Texas embraces the Q, why would anyone be surprised when rational, bottom-line enterprises express their dismay?

  5. Ross says:

    Bill, if the onlyway go get through to the GOP pieces of shit that run this state is through their pockets, so be it.

  6. Bill Daniels says:


    Glorifying and normalizing mental illness and perversion doesn’t make it OK. I’ll gladly live in a state that fights that. Maybe at some point, those perverted mentally ill, and their supporters, will decide to leave Texas? Why would they, and you, desire to live amongst people who will not go along with their delusions? There was a woman in Pearland that wanted to raise her son as a girl and got push back from the school district, so she eventually moved and took her sideshow to Austin, where they welcomed it.

    Maybe you’ll recall the HERO, in liberal stronghold Houston, being defeated by the voters, because even liberals know this is wrong.

    It’s like you’re living in a place where the majority of people are the kids who publicly point out the emperor has no clothes, and it angers you, because you’ve been beaten down so much that when O’Brien holds up 4 fingers, you see 5.

    I see a guy with a dick and think to myself, “That dude does not need to be playing women’s sports.” You’ve been trained, indoctrinated, or coerced to think otherwise. When you were a kid, you knew stuff like this was wrong.

    And once again, I’ll just point out that when the progressive ideal meets reality, the reality probably won’t be as positive as you think it will be. I know some of the folks here have daughters, When those daughters actually start having to compete with men on the field, start losing scholarships to men, start getting injured by men, the reality will set in and it won’t live up to the ideal.

    Trannies and their supporters are exactly like red light cameras…..they will be victims of their own success. As their numbers increase, and Americans interact with them, they’ll find themselves to be very unpopular, in the same way that many people thought red light cameras were great…right up until they started getting tickets. Then they didn’t think they were so great after all. How did the red light cameras work out in Texas? Cities, including Houston, got rid of them due to public outcry, and finally the State of Texas outlawed them. People, after having real world experience with them, found out they didn’t like the cameras.

  7. C.L. says:

    Are there really that many transgender children in TX who (1) are students looking to compete in sports and, (2) are looking to play football, (3) are looking to join the wrestling team, are (4) looking to run track or throw a shotput, are (4) wanting to be on the cheer team ? For a party that’s wants government to stay out of people’s lives, they sure seem intent on passing bills to solve a problem that isn’t really there .

  8. Manny says:

    Thanks to progressive women are now competing in many if not all sports. The Neandertals would still only allow men.

    Women sports in college in the 1970s;

    “In 1972, just 1 in 27 girls participated in high school sports; today, about two in five do, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. The number of women playing at the college level has skyrocketed by more than 600 percent. (Incidentally, these days coed football teams aren’t a joke either.)”

    The same Neandertals used to keep African-American out of sports. Those same Neandertals would still keep them out if they could. Those would be the Bill Daniels of the world.

    Thank God for Progressives.

  9. Jen says:

    All these anti-trans kids bills are just a smokescreen, a big whataboutism campaign being waged by a few rabid evangelicals who think that God’s Plan is being interfered with. They are being helped by the usual GOP suspects who are hoping this plays well with their base. Since the crackdown on Church sex abuse of children, these creeps are no longer able to enjoy themselves the way they used to.
    Looks like they are taking it out on the only kids they can actually attack.

  10. David fagan says:


    Corporate personhood has been a problem longer than Citizens United has been around.

    Not supporting Citizens United.

  11. Mandy Giles says:

    Thank you for this article, Charles. I’m glad the NCAA is making a stand, and I hope the Texas lege will listen. However, I’d honestly be disappointed if it were the threat of economic loss and NOT the harmful treatment of a marginalized group of citizens (transgender children) that would move legislators to do what’s right. This is just a battle in the culture wars, and in this battle, children are the pawns. Children who just want the same rights as anyone else.

  12. David Fagan says:

    The NCAA could fix all of this by allowing everyone playing together without consideration of sex and abolishing ‘men’s and women’s distinctions.

  13. Paul kubosh says:

    The he’ll with all female athletes and their fathers. Let the men compete against the women. It’s all equal. I don’t respond to blackmail.

    I don’t understand how you can talk about female equality when you take this stance.

  14. Manny says:

    Not sure what you are standing for Paul? Could you explain? Are you in favor of allowing transgender to compete in the sport with the gender they identify with?

  15. Ross says:

    Paul, go read the rules on transgendered athletes. Men cant decide “I feel like a woman” and compete the next day. They have to take testosterone suppression drugs for at least a year, so will not have a real advantage.

  16. ROSS “not have a real advantage”. Just not true. I can’t imagine any parent with an athletic daughter for such nonsense.

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