WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) ambassador Riley Gaines and fifteen other current and former NCAA female athletes filed a class action lawsuit in the Northern District of Georgia against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Georgia Tech, among others for discriminating against them in violation of Title IX. The case, Gaines v. NCAA, seeks to hold the defendants liable for “reducing female competitive opportunities, forcing female athletes to compete against males in sex-separated sports, depriving women of equal opportunities to protect their bodily privacy, and authorizing males to access female safe spaces necessary for women to prepare for athletic competition, including showers, locker rooms and restrooms.”


As Independent Women’s Forum, the nation’s most impactful policy organization for women, has repeatedly told the NCAA: 

“Without single-sex competition there can be no equal athletic opportunity. The NCAA knows this, yet it continues to propagate a policy that allows male athletes on women’s teams, even as international sports governing bodies and state legislatures increasingly reject these unjust and inequitable policies that harm female athletes.”

Male-bodied athletes who identify as women have taken at least 578 athletic victories from women.

May Mailman, Independent Women’s Law Center Director, said, “As we have repeatedly testified before Congress and warned the NCAA, Title IX demands equal treatment of women, which means providing fair and safe opportunities for women who play sports in school. This landmark law is entirely at odds with the NCAA’s desire to force women to accommodate male competition, strength, and locker-room presence. We look forward to the judicial system vindicating these brave female athletes.”

Riley Gaines, an Independent Women’s Forum ambassador and plaintiff on the case, added, “The NCAA continues to actively and openly discriminate against women on the basis of our sex.”

Paula Scanlan, an Independent Women’s Forum ambassador, added, “The NCAA policies have harmed far too many women. Female athletes have been discriminated against and had our rights violated. It is so important that us female athletes have access to equal opportunity and by allowing males to compete with us and change in our locker room we are denied that opportunity. If the NCAA doesn’t repeal all policies and rules that allow male athletes to compete in women’s sports and access women’s locker rooms, there will be many more lawsuits like this one that the NCAA can expect.”

IWF and IWLC have been at the forefront of the movement to protect women’s sports — in the media, in the courts, and in the halls of Congress. In 2019, our legal team filed a prescient brief in Bostock v. Harris County, warning the United States Supreme Court of the impending threat to women’s sports (the only friend of the Court brief in Bostock to do so). 

Since then, IW leaders have fought tirelessly to support and defend athletes like Riley Gaines who have been adversely impacted by the males in women’s sports, filing legal briefs, organizing rallies, and giving voice to the stories of these brave young women.

IWF leads the Our Bodies, Our Sports coalition of female advocacy organizations that have traveled the country to demand the NCAA, athletic associations, and other sport governing bodies keep women’s sports female. In 2022, IWF established National Women’s Sports Week, recognized annually during the week of June 23, coinciding with the anniversary of Title IX.

IWF has testified before Congress and various state legislatures — including Alaska, Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Texas. And just this week, IW leaders and ambassadors met with U.S. Senators, led by Senator “Coach” Tommy Tuberville, to press Congress to save women’s sports and stop the Biden administration’s illegal rewrite of Title IX. 

Learn more about IWF’s fight to preserve the integrity of women’s sports below:

  • Competition Report: Title IX, Male-Bodied Athletes, and the Threat To Women’s Sports” is a first of its kind, comprehensive report on the male athletic advantage and the shifting legal landscape of women’s sports.
  • IW’s Women’s Sport Resource Center can be found here. IWF’s Female Athlete Storytelling drive featuring real stories from real women athletes can be found here.
  • Independent Women’s Voice, IWF’s 501(c)(4) sister organization, drove more than 15,000 public comments to the Department of Education opposing the proposed new Title IX rules. IW’s official comment opposing the rule can be read here.

To book May Mailman, Riley Gaines, and Paula Scanlan email [email protected]

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.