‘We Need To Speak Up’: UPenn Parents Push Back Against NCAA After Trans Swimmer Crushes Female Competition

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Chrissy Clark Education Reporter
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Parents of approximately 10 swimmers on the University of Pennsylvania’s swim team demanded that the NCAA take action against rules that allow a transgender swimmer to compete in the women’s division, according to a letter obtained by the Daily Mail.

The UPenn parents sent the letter to the NCAA and UPenn’s leadership on Dec. 5, three days after transgender athlete Lia Thomas shattered records. Thomas shattered the women’s 500 Free Ivy League record and won the event by almost 13 seconds. Thomas also beat the second-place swimmer in the 200 Free event by over six seconds.

Parents argued that there needs to be a “protected and equitable space” for biological women to compete in sports. They also called on the NCAA to address the issue as they feel it is “unfair and irresponsible” to place the onus on UPenn leadership alone.

“At stake here is the integrity of women’s sports. The precedent being set — one in which women do not have a protected and equitable space to compete — is a direct threat to female athletes in every sport,” the letter from UPenn parents reads. “What are the boundaries? How is this in line with the NCAA’s commitment to providing a fair environment for student-athletes?”

“It is the responsibility of the NCAA to address the matter with an official statement. As a governing body, it is unfair and irresponsible to leave the onus on Lia, Lia’s teammates, Lia’s coaches, UPenn athletics and the Ivy League,” the letter continues. “And it is unfair and irresponsible to Lia to allow the media to dictate the narrative without the participation of the NCAA.”

Video footage reportedly shows Thomas crushing female competitors by 38 seconds at the University of Akron’s Zippy Invitational. Thomas also won the 500 Free event by 12 seconds and the 200 Free event by seven seconds.

UPenn’s coach allegedly supports the addition of Thomas to the women’s team. Thomas said that the UPenn coach is impressed with Thomas’ times, despite Thomas’ slower pace attributed to gender transition. (RELATED: ‘Our Coach Just Really Likes Winning’: Teammate Of Trans Swimmer Speaks Out)

The University of Pennsylvania responded to concerned parents by offering them links to counseling and psychological services, the LGBT Center, restorative practices, and the Center for Student-Athlete Success, according to the Daily Mail.

“Please know that we fully support all our swimming student-athletes and want to help our community navigate Lia’s success in the pool this winter,” the university reportedly said. “Penn Athletics is committed to being a welcoming and inclusive environment for all our student-athletes, coaches and staff and we hold true to that commitment today and in the future.”

The University of Pennsylvania and the NCAA did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.