NCAA facilitator quits over organization’s updated transgender participation policy

Dorian Rhea Debussy, Ph.D, one of 54 facilitators of the NCAA Division III LGBTQ OneTeam program, resigned after the implementation of a new policy regarding transgender participation.

Last year, Debussy led 38 OneTeam members to release a letter asking the NCAA to take further action to prevent the introduction and passage of anti-transgender legislation in the 2021 legislative session.

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Lia Thomas of the Pennsylvania Quakers after competing in a freestyle event during a tri-meet against the Yale Bulldogs and the Dartmouth Big Green at Sheerr Pool on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania on January 8, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania .
(Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Debussy issued a resignation letter in protest of the NCAA’s updated transgender participation policy.

“I am deeply troubled by what appears to be an active, effective, engaged, and equitable level of support for gender-diverse student-athletes within the NCAA leadership. As a non-binary and transfeminine person, I cannot plus, in good conscience, maintain my NCAA membership,” Debussy said.

Debussy wrote that “the NCAA notes that its updated policy still mandates rigid testing schedules for endocrine levels, while the updated IOC policy strongly emphasizes the importance of bodily autonomy and scientific evidence to ensure fairness”. She added that the NCAA also notes that their updated policy “defers to the relevant policies of the governing bodies of each individual sport, while also not setting out clear and direct expectations for a trans-inclusive environment.” .

“In contrast, the updated IOC policy clearly affirms the right of athletes to participate safely and without prejudice, while requiring that relevant policies for each sport be consistent with the IOC framework and expectations for an evidence-based approach. evidence-based, non-discriminatory, and stakeholder-centric approach,” Debussy wrote.

“[T]Their steadfast opposition to anti-LGBTQ+ — and especially anti-trans — legislation seems to have faded in recent years. For example, the NCAA last year awarded championship tournaments to several states that had in fact passed legislation, which limits the participation of student-athletes of different genders,” she continued.

PENN’S LIA THOMAS WINS 100M AND 200M FREESTYLE RACES AGAINST HARVARD

Lia Thomas of the Pennsylvania Quakers prepares to compete in a freestyle event during a tri-meet against the Yale Bulldogs and the Dartmouth Big Green at Sheerr Pool on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania on January 8, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Lia Thomas of the Pennsylvania Quakers prepares to compete in a freestyle event during a tri-meet against the Yale Bulldogs and the Dartmouth Big Green at Sheerr Pool on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania on January 8, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

This all came to light during Penn swimmer Lia Thomas’ success in the pool. Thomas had victories in the 100-meter and 200-meter freestyle races against Harvard on Saturday. The victories came days after the NCAA updated its transgender participation policy and how it will be determined on a sport-by-sport basis.

The NCAA announced that the policy would begin with the winter championships. The NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships will be held March 16-19 at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta.

“Based on the new NCAA policy released Wednesday, nothing would prevent Lia from running in March at the NCAA Championships. There is a framework, guidance, but nothing that anyone would recognize as a line-in-the- – sand threshold,” Braden Keith, co-founder and editor of SwimSwam, told Fox News last Thursday.

“The internal pressure within the sport over the last 24 hours has escalated on USA Swimming and FINA to make a decision, to come up with a rule or a threshold, and that has left them in kind of a tough spot – they had that responsibility, the duty to decide what the NCAA rule is, thrust upon them, when I’m sure they were hoping they could throw the box on the road a little longer.”

Under the new policy announced by the NCAA, it appears Thomas will still be eligible to run this season for Penn. The Quakers have two more games before the end of the regular season.

The Ivy League championships are scheduled for Feb. 16-19 and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) championships are scheduled for Feb. 24-27.

Both Penn and the Ivy League offered their support for Thomas and pledged to work with the NCAA regarding his championship participation.

“Penn Athletics is aware of the NCAA’s new transgender participation policy. In support of our student-athlete, Lia Thomas, we will be working with the NCAA regarding her participation under the newly adopted Swimming and Diving Championship Standards. NCAA 2022,” Penn Athletics said in a statement obtained by Fox News.

Lia Thomas of the Pennsylvania Quakers swims in the 500-yard freestyle event during a triple meet against the Yale Bulldogs and the Dartmouth Big Green at Sheerr Pool on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania on January 8, 2022 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania.

Lia Thomas of the Pennsylvania Quakers swims in the 500-yard freestyle event during a triple meet against the Yale Bulldogs and the Dartmouth Big Green at Sheerr Pool on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania on January 8, 2022 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania.
(Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

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The Ivy League added: “The Ivy League is aware of yesterday’s decision by the NCAA Board of Governors to update its transgender policies beginning with the 2022 NCAA Winter Championships. The league will work with the University of Pennsylvania and its other member institutions to determine the mid-year eligibility impact on any of its transgender student-athletes who may be affected by this decision and will provide an update as appropriate. “

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.

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