WASHINGTON, D.C. – At the annual convention of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in San Antonio, Texas, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) Spokeswoman and 12X NCAA All-American swimmer Riley Gaines led a group of pro-women organizations across the political spectrum to call on the NCAA to stop discriminating against female athletes and establish policies to keep women’s sports female. Now, Gaines and IWF are asking incoming NCAA President Charlie Baker to prioritize a review of the NCAA policies that claim to promote inclusion. In a letter sent to Baker, Gaines states that current NCAA policies “have left female athletes hurt, traumatized, or excluded.”


Gaines, who joined IWF as a spokeswoman this year, sent a copy of the letter to NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana and to Baker’s Massachusetts home prior to attending the NCAA Annual Convention.

During the NCAA Convention, Gaines spoke with several key NCAA members inside the convention center and she attended a handful of the NCAA scheduled sessions on the organizations’ commitment and approach to transgender athletic inclusion. “I was shocked that the NCAA offered one-sided conversations as part of its scheduled education sessions pushing transgender athletes’ participation at the expense of women athletes’ participation,” said Gaines of the NCAA selected panelists. “The NCAA disregarded representation of millions of female athletes, including those who were sitting right there in the audience and those who were outside rallying the NCAA to stop discriminating against female athletes.”

Current NCAA policy allows males who identify as women to play women’s sports so long as their levels of testosterone meet sport-specific requirements. The policy contradicts scientific studies that have found testosterone suppression cannot eliminate the male athletic advantage. 

Those rallying outside of the NCAA convention with IWF hand delivered a petition signed by 10,000 people to two NCAA representatives. The petition reads: In the world of college sports, it is impossible to provide equal opportunities for both sexes without single-sex teams. Allowing biological males on women’s teams discriminates against female athletes. The NCAA is not above the law. We demand that the NCAA stop discriminating against women and establish rules to keep women’s sports female.

The NCAA released this statement to media: “The NCAA received a petition from an external group related to the association’s transgender student athlete participation policy. We will review the petition and respond as appropriately.”

IWF has yet to receive a direct response from the NCAA.

“There couldn’t be a better time for new leadership to take place within the NCAA. As President Mark Emmett phases out and Charlie Baker phases in, we are hoping for accountability and action to be taken to protect women from men infiltrating into our spaces and our sports,” said Gaines. “Mr. Baker provides the organization with a fresh face and an important voice with the power to do the fair and moral thing: keep sports and protected areas like changing rooms separated on the basis of sex. I’m hopeful that he will be receptive to the idea of meeting face to face to further discuss solutions for what so many in this country and within this organization already know to be blatantly wrong and unfair to girls and females who have worked so hard to play at the collegiate level.”

To read the 4-page letter from Riley Gaines to NCAA President Charlie Baker click HERE.

Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.