I’m calling on all female athletes to urge the NCAA Board of Governors to repeal the NCAA’s current policy of allowing biological males in women’s sports.

I recently sent a letter to the NCAA Board of Governors urging change in hopes that my experience swimming at the University of Pennsylvania, forced to compete against and change in a locker room with a biological man, would be a platform for change.

Earlier in April, The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), which oversees more than 83,000 athletes at smaller colleges and universities, voted 20-0 to prohibit biological males from competing on women’s teams.

But the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which oversees more than 500,000 athletes, continues to maintain its policy of allowing males who identify as women to take roster spots on women’s teams and compete in women’s events.

Female athletes have worked incredibly hard for the chance to play in college. We know that collegiate roster spots and athletic scholarships are extremely limited. It’s not easy to earn a spot on a college team. When colleges include even a single biological male on a women’s college team, they are excluding a female athlete from the roster, and they are denying other female athletes playing time and opportunities to compete. This isn’t fair. In fact, it’s discriminatory.

Not only does the inclusion of males in women’s sports exclude women from athletic opportunities, but it tells women that their voices do not matter. It tells female athletes that their dedication, talent and dignity is less important than the feelings of men.

It is well known that at the 2022 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship, Lia Thomas stole awards from female swimmers, including Olympians and American record holders. But the harm that colleges and universities inflicted on college women by allowing Thomas to compete on the women’s team was exponential.

As I observed first hand, allowing Thomas to join the women’s swim team and compete in women’s collegiate meets deprived other women from competing in certain races at all and subjected female swimmers to a loss of privacy and dignity in the locker room.

When we tried to voice our privacy concerns to the Athletic Department, we were belittled, told that we were the ones with the problem and offered psychological services to re-educate us to becoming comfortable undressing in front of a male.

Unfortunately, Thomas was not a one off. In fact, to date, males have stolen over 913 trophies, medals and titles from women and girls across 441 different competitions and over 30 different sports.

But, as with Thomas, the harm is much greater than these numbers suggest. Indeed, each of the men who stole trophies or awards from women also kept other women from competing at all.

And this is to say nothing of the increased risk of injury caused by male participation in women’s sports and the potential trauma caused by allowing naked men in our locker rooms.

Since graduating from Penn, I have devoted my life to traveling around the country and speaking with college students about this topic. And I can assure you that the vast (silent) majority of female NCAA athletes have serious concerns that current NCAA policy violates our right to equal opportunity, privacy and safety.

The American people stand with us; a Gallup poll from 2023 found that 7 in 10 Americans oppose men in women’s sports. And I sincerely hope that the NCAA will stand with us too by repealing the current policy and protecting the female sporting category.

I will not back down from speaking of the importance of providing equal athletic opportunities in collegiate sport. The NCAA meets on April 25; it is critical that they hear from their athletes — not from politicians, not from special interest groups, but from athletes, their stakeholders.

Now is the time for female NCAA athletes to stand together and tell the NCAA that we will not accept reduced athletic opportunities for women. We must demand the NCAA to keep women’s sports female.

Together, we can ensure that future generations of female athletes have an equal opportunity to play in college.