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NCAA threatens Florida over law banning transgender athletes

Transgender Athletes High School
FILE – In this Feb. 7, 2019 file photo, Bloomfield High School transgender athlete Terry Miller, second from left, wins the final of the 55-meter dash over transgender athlete Andraya Yearwood, far left, and other runners in the Connecticut girls Class S indoor track meet at Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Conn. The federal Office for Civil Rights has launched an investigation into Connecticut’s policy allowing transgender high school athletes to compete as the gender with which they identify. The investigation follows a complaint by the families of three girls, who say they were discriminated against by having to compete in track against two athletes who were identified as male at birth. They say that violates Title IX, the federal law designed to ensure equal athletic opportunities for females. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb, File)

The NCAA is putting states that don’t support transgender athletes on notice. It says if the Florida House passes a bill today banning transgender girls and women from playing schools sports, it may pull future championship events. Even though the Florida Senate has yet to pass the measure. Last years College Football Playoff Championship was held at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association Board of Governors said Monday it would consider pulling championships from states that ban transgender athletes from participating in women’s and girls’ sports.
The NCAA warned their policies for selecting championship locations requires hosts to commit to a safe, healthy, and discrimination free environment.

The statement came a day before the Florida House is set to take up House Bill 1475, a bill which would do just that.

“When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected,” the statement read. “We will continue to closely monitor these situations to determine whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants.”

It’s unclear how much the NCAA’s statement will influence Republicans. Chris Latvala, R-Clearwater, who chairs the House Education and Employment committee, said the sports organization had too much to lose by pulling events out of Florida.

The legislation banning transgender athletes from women’s sports has the backing of Florida’s top Republican leaders: House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor; Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Senate version of measure, Senate Bill 2012, differs slightly from the legislation the House will take up Tuesday. The Senate bill would allow transgender athletes to participate if they can show they have testosterone levels below the International Olympic Committee standard.

That’s not quite the same standard as the NCAA’s. The college sports governing body’s rules say that transgender athletes have to take testosterone suppressants for one year before being cleared to compete in women’s sports.

The Senate bill was set to be heard in its final committee stop Wednesday. But hours after the NCAA’s statement, the committee said its agenda was too busy for the bill to be heard this week.

At least 29 other states have proposed bans.