Transgender UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas will not be affected by an NCAA policy change that could have knocked her out of the upcoming Ivy League Championships.
According to an Ivy League spokesperson, the biological male swimmer, who has been shattering records all season since beginning to compete with female swimmers after three years on the men’s swim team, won’t be knocked out of the finals due to USA Swimming’s recent policy update.
“The recent rule changes do not impact Lia’s eligibility for this month’s Ivy League Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships as the effective date for this unprecedented midseason NCAA policy change begins with the 2022 NCAA Winter Championships,” the statement read.
Thomas will likely have her last harrah in the upcoming competition at Harvard University on Feb. 16-19, but will be ineligible to compete in the NCAA Championships due to not meeting the updated criteria.
In a controversial move, the NCAA chose to give jurisdiction over transgender policies to each individual sport’s governing body. USA Swimming recently updated their guidelines to disallow any competitor who has not shown a testosterone level of less than 5 nmol/L for a continuous 36 months.
Thomas was previously allowed to compete under an NCAA rule, which allowed biological men to compete in women’s sports after a full year of testosterone suppression, but is six months shy of the new eligibility requirements for the NCAA Championships, which will be held in March.
Sixteen of Thomas’s teammates sent a letter to their university and the Ivy League earlier this month, urging both institutions to restrict their biologically male teammate from participating in the league championships and to refrain from suing the NCAA.
“Biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over competition in the women’s category, as evidenced by her rankings that have bounced from #462 as a male to #1 as a female,” they wrote.
“If she were to be eligible to compete against us, she could now break Penn, Ivy, and NCAA Women’s Swimming records; feats she could never have done as a male athlete.”