LAS VEGAS, NV — Current and former athletes, coaches, and women’s advocates gathered alongside a crowded room of supporters on Wednesday, June 12, for the multistate Our Bodies, Our Sports “Take Back Title IX” Summer 2024 Bus Tour in Las Vegas, Nevada. The landmark tour is making its way across the country throughout the month of June, building upon widespread support to protect women’s sports ahead of the Biden administration’s unlawful Title IX rewrite taking effect on August 1.

Women’s and girls’ equal athletic opportunity, privacy, and safety will take a devastating blow under the new Title IX rules. The regulations strip away protections for women—taking opportunities from women and giving them to men. This doesn’t enforce Title IX, it violates it. That was true before the Biden administration dropped this rule, and it is still true today.

The bus tour is hosted by the Our Bodies, Our Sports coalition, the nation’s first and only coalition of women’s advocacy organizations from across the political spectrum fighting to protect women’s sports.

The rally, held at Stoney’s Rockin’ Country, featured over a dozen athletes, coaches, and prominent women’s advocates, including Riley Gaines, Paula Scanlan, Payton McNabb, and Jennifer Sey. 

Here is what they had to say:

Riley Gaines, 12x All-American swimmer, 5x SEC Champion and record holder, Independent Women’s Forum ambassador, host of “Gaines for Girls” on OutKick, and plaintiff in Gaines et al. v. NCAA: “This is so much broader than just women’s sports. This is so much broader than me not being able to hold the little five-dollar production trophy on the podium. It’s so much bigger than that. The premise of the gender ideology movement as a whole is that we’re denying objective truth, biological reality, the most basic truth—a truth we have never struggled to understand in the nearly 250 years we have been established as a country—and that is man and woman.”

Paula Scanlan, Independent Women’s Forum ambassador and former University of Pennsylvania swimmer: “We’re at a time in this country now where if you are a woman and you’re saying, ‘I’m not comfortable having all my records broken, I’m not comfortable losing all my opportunities, I’m not comfortable undressing next to a fully intact 6-foot-4 tall male,’ you’re told that you need therapy. It’s us women who are taking this back. This is about the next generation of athletes and making sure they have the same opportunities, because I know if this had happened to me in high school, I never would have had the opportunity to become a Division I athlete.”

Coach Kim Russell, former head women’s lacrosse coach at Oberlin College and Independent Women’s Forum ambassador: “I am here for all of you [and] for all of the children who are coming to play these sports, to be in locker rooms, to be in bathrooms, so they can get private spaces. I am here to let all of you know that you can speak up, to not have fear, and to tell the truth. Because the truth is the kindest thing you can say to someone.”

Jennifer Sey, founder and CEO of XX-XY Athletics, 7x member of the women’s national artistic gymnastics team, and 1986 U.S. Women’s All-Around National Champion gymnast: “After twenty years it took me to find my voice, I am certainly not going to be quiet now, and neither should you. I’m here to say to you today, if you think the truth matters, and you know because it is true that male and female bodies are different, you need to stand up right now. If you know that it isn’t fair or safe, that women deserve privacy, safety, and fairness, it’s time to stand up and stand with us.”

Selina Soule, 4x track and field National Qualifier forced out of regional championships due to males taking women’s spots: “I knew I had to speak up and ask for fairness to be restored to my sport, so at just 16 years old, I was doing national television interviews. At the time, no one else was speaking up on this issue, so I knew I had to speak up not only for myself but for every other young girl facing the same issue. We must ensure that girls across our great country are protected, and that they have the right to win in their own sports, not just earn a participation trophy.”

Adriana McLamb, spokeswoman for Independent Women’s Forum, former Division I volleyball player, and coach and recruiter to aspiring collegiate female volleyball players: “I have athletes who are upcoming seniors, and this year, we did find out that a 2025 scholarship was designated for a biological male. Luckily, the University of Washington did the right thing and revoked that scholarship as soon as they found out, but it did showcase how easy it is for this to be infiltrated and how easy it is for college coaches to make that mistake because the law is not helping them. It has put the burden of the truth on female athletes. We have to prove something just to protect ourselves, and here we are trying to prove that biological males are stronger, faster, jump higher than biological females, when it should not be on our backs but on our coaches, administrators, and the Biden administration. ”

Coach Barbara Ehardt, former 15-year career NCAA Division I women’s basketball coach and current member of the Idaho House of Representatives from the 33rd district: “If it was really just about humanity and community and inclusion, then [female] players wouldn’t get cut and coaches wouldn’t get fired. It’s about winning. If we’re willing to myopically say that it’s okay for just one boy to be on that girls’ basketball team, that one boy [may be] taking the place of the worst-placed girl, think about how it changes the team. If 12 boys try out for the girls’ team, then you have to be willing to systematically allow all 12—if you’re willing to allow one boy to make the team, you have to be willing to make all 12—and what’s the question: Where do all the girls go?”

Payton McNabb, Independent Women’s Forum ambassador and volleyball player who was severely injured by a male on a women’s team: “Almost two years ago, I was severely injured in a high school volleyball game by a male athlete on the opposing team. Because of these injuries, I now suffer from long-term effects like vision impairment, cognitive issues, memory loss, and I am partially paralyzed on my right side. As a three-sport athlete, sports were a big part of my life, really my identity. I had the hopes and dreams of continuing my career in college, but that was all taken away from me on that day by a boy whose feelings were more important than my well-being.”

Madisan DeBos, Southern Utah University D1 cross-country and track athlete whose relay team competed against a male: “On the last leg [of the relay], I heard something that filled me with confusion, and then anger, and then sadness. It was the words, ‘slow down.’ These words came from the coach of the male athlete while he was running the final leg of the relay. I have never once in my 21 years of running heard a coach tell their athlete to slow down during a race.”

Kaitlynn Wheeler, former University of Kentucky D1 swimmer: “All of us are up here wanting to spread the truth because so many people are afraid and have become afraid to speak the truth.”

Marshi Smith, NCAA and PAC-10 Champion, 15x All-American swimmer, World Cup Medalist, and co-founder of Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS): “I was lucky enough to win four out of four Nevada state swimming titles, and broke three Nevada state records. This achievement earned me a life-changing full athletic scholarship, which allowed me to fulfill one of my wildest dreams: standing on the top podium as an NCAA Division I swim champion. This accomplishment was possible thanks to the women who fought for years to give female athletes access to fair sports and opportunities. My Nevada backstroke record stood for about seventeen years, and I was thrilled to see it surpassed by another female athlete in Reno. However, in the two decades since I graduated high school, girls’ records across the country are being wiped away.”

Linnea Saltz, former NCAA track and field athlete from Southern Utah University who competed against June Eastwood, the first transgender-identifying male athlete to compete in DI cross country: “The NCAA has turned their backs on us time and time again, and now the current presidential administration is doing the same exact thing. I am so grateful to be here with amazing women, amazing athletes, amazing advocates in this space to take back Title IX, and I really appreciate all of you coming out here and showing your support for this insanely important issue.”

Nanea Merryman, former high school volleyball player whose team won the Nevada State Championship, current collegiate volleyball player, and plaintiff in Gaines et. al. v NCAA: “In my seventeenth year, my local club team unknowingly faced a male player in California twice. We lost both games against this team and dropped in tournament races due to those losses. I never imagined my freshman year that I would have to join a landmark lawsuit with 16 other female athletes to sue the NCAA for violating Title IX. With support from ICONS, we are holding the NCAA accountable for giving away our rights to equal opportunity on the court.”

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Click HERE to see upcoming stops on the bus tour.

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