The American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) today released a statement calling on the NCAA “and all governing bodies” to review and update their rules regarding the participation of transgender female student-athletes, particularly in women’s swimming. .

The ASCA asked for “scientific and factual data [sic] research” to use to establish new rules. The coaching association noted that “the current NCAA policy regarding when transgender women can compete in the women’s category may be unfair to cisgender women and should be reviewed and changed in a transparent manner.”

The NCAA Board of Governors had previously announced its intention to discuss its transgender participation policy at its meeting on Thursday, Jan. 20, and that it would issue a statement shortly thereafter.

The issue of transgender athletes in women’s swimming, in particular, has come to the fore in recent months, with swimmer Penn Lia Thomas attract international media attention for its record runs this fall. Thomas, who swam for the Quakers men’s team for three years before his transition, has the nation’s best times in the 200 freestyle (1:41.93) and 500 freestyle (4:34.06) and is ranked sixth at 1650 free (15:59.71).

The ASCA represents a wide range of swimming coaches in the United States, not just college coaches. The organization is generally not involved in sports legislation at the collegiate level; its activities are more focused on the certification and training of its 11,000 members. Another organization, the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA), represents some 2,000 member coaches and assistant coaches and advocates for the welfare of intercollegiate swimming and diving in all divisions of the NCAA, NAIA and associations. of junior colleges.

As of this writing, neither the CSCAA nor USA Swimming, the governing body for the sport of swimming in the United States, has officially addressed the subject. USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey said last month that Lia Thomas was not a member at the time.

ASCA’s full statement can be found below:

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SWIMMING COACHES

TRANSGENDER FEMALE SWIMMERS POLICY STATEMENT

“The American Swimming Coaches Association urges the NCAA and all governing bodies to work quickly to update their policies and rules to maintain fair competition in the women’s swimming category. The ASCA supports the monitoring of all scientific research available and evidence-based in setting new policies, and we strongly advocate for more research to be conducted.

“The ASCA embraces and encourages diversity and believes that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in swimming. Transgender people belong in our sport and have every right to compete, and at the same time, cisgender women have a right to a fair and meaningful category of competition.

“The current NCAA policy regarding when transgender women can compete in the women’s category may be unfair to cisgender women and should be reviewed and changed in a transparent manner.

“The discrimination and disrespect that has erupted as a result of this conversation has no place in our sport or in society. We strongly reject criticism from athletes and coaches who simply follow the rules.”