Lia Thomas wasn’t a one-off. To date, males have stolen over 913 trophies, medals, and titles from women and girls across 441 different competitions and over 30 different sports. More than 639 female athletes have been displaced by males in women’s sporting events and other types of competitions expressly for women.

It seems like every other week there’s a new story shared with my team about a transgender-identify male athlete competing in women’s sports at the high school or collegiate level. Another story has come out about a current biological male athlete on a female NCAA Division 1 volleyball team. This athlete is a rising redshirt senior at San Jose State University who reportedly transferred from Coastal Carolina after the state legislature passed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.

As a coach and former D1 athlete, I can speak first hand that the volleyball community has known that this athlete is a biological male since at least 2020 when Blaire was committed to play at Coastal Carolina. It was the “talk of the town” in February 2020 at the DC’s largest women’s volleyball tournament, Capitol Hill Classic, where Blaire dominated the court. In December 2023, when the story broke about Tate Drageset, the University of Washington women’s volleyball commit who was a biological male, the volleyball community did not hesitate to say “what about the kid who went to Coastal Carolina?”

Now over four years later, finally with proof that once again the athletes and their supporters had to find, the NCAA is confronted with the question of when they will take action to stop the discrimination against their female athletes in women’s collegiate sports. The fact is these athletes are not a secret but without official investigations, it’s difficult for female athletes, their parents, and their coaches to “call out” this injustice. The NCAA and sports governing bodies, like USA Volleyball, have put this responsibility of finding the truth on the back of their female athletes and coaches rather than ensuring equal opportunity and safety of those athletes who trust them with their playing careers.

Given my formative experience as an NCAA Division 1 volleyball athlete from Florida International University, I am now giving back to the sport I love as a Recruiting Coordinator to help athletes achieve their goals and compete at the next level. I know personally and I see now on my own team how the dream of playing in college inspires a competitive and rigorous recruiting process that not only impacts the girls who are seeking a college roster spot, but also the future of our sport. It is a privilege to speak with coaches from across the country about what they are looking for in their future athletes to build their programs–and help their team win. The sad truth is that they might recruit the stronger, faster biological male athlete because the NCAA allows it, and this policy gives a team the upper leg (no pun intended).

The root of the issue is the NCAA.

The NCAA’s discriminatory policies allowing male-bodied athletes to compete in the women’s collegiate division severely impact the opportunities of current and future female athletes and the outlook of collegiate women’s sports altogether.

It is shameful that the NCAA has refused to step up and protect its female athletes from having to compete against males for playing time, scholarships, and roster sports.

Earlier this month, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), which oversees more than 83,000 athletes at smaller colleges and universities, unanimously voted (20-0) to prohibit biological males from competing on women’s teams. Good for them. This decision wasn’t anti-trans, but pro-safety, pro-fairness and pro-woman.

NCAA president Charlie Baker suggested a few months ago when testifying before the United States Senate that he thinks that the NCAA’s decision to allow men access to women’s sports was fair. It’s not. The science is clear that testosterone suppression in post pubescent men does not level the proverbial playing field. It cannot alter a man’s skeletal structure, for example, and it cannot eliminate muscle memory. So even a male who complied with these rules will have an unfair athletic advantage.

I see firsthand the mental and physical toll it takes for female athletes to compete at a high level and then be faced with male athletes who obviously have an advantage – and often pose a physical threat. We are seeing a rise in depression and decline in the mental health of our female athletes. Yet, instead of doing something about that, the NCAA is still focused on “inclusion” of men in women’s sports.

How many young female athletes have to lose scholarships for the NCAA to care? How many young female athletes have to be injured for the NCAA to care? How many young female athletes have to suffer at the hands of the NCAA for them to change?

Sadly, one is too many, yet the NCAA does not care about its female athletes.

The Our Bodies, Our Sports coalition sent letters and emails to the NCAA board members from over 3,000 current and former female athletes and coaches urging the NCAA to “protect women’s sports.” More than 78,000 personalized emails and letters have been sent to members of the NCAA Board of Governors in the last week alone. Make your voice heard and sign the petition here.