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February 16, 2024 | In The News

Boxing, volleyball make surprise choices who they think are the best ‘female’ athletes

FOX — A few weeks ago, two Republicans, Florida Representative Greg Steube and Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville, introduced legislation aiming to protect Olympic and amateur female athletes from male-displacement. Sport-specific organizations have operated outside accountability for years and have harmed female athletes like me in the process.  

Here is why this legislation is critical: USA Boxing rang in 2024 by codifying a new rule for female boxing; participants need not be female. According to them, “female” is a term merely equating a few surgeries and pills.  

Because of this opened floodgate, you can turn on your TV, perhaps even pay a few extra dollars, and see a biological man punching a woman under lights surrounded by cheering fans. One coach even warns this change could “kill a woman.” While it seems barbaric, it is legal and likely a soon-to-be common practice here in the United States if something does not change the trajectory. 

However, the regulations created by these sport specific organizations such as USA Boxing, USA Volleyball (USAV), and USA Swimming extend beyond entertainment. “The Olympic and Amateur Sports Act” (1978) allowed the U.S. Olympic Committee to recognize such governing rules.  

The NCAA also defaults their male-participation-in-women’s-sport guidelines to those determined by the sport specific organizations. Many NCAA athletes and coaches have pushed back against this passivity in the face of female harm.  

Most recently, NCAA official Bill Bock resigned from the Division I Committee on Infractions after he “watched the NCAA double down on regressive policies which discriminate against female student-athletes.”  

While the dystopian reality where biological men can punch women drew attention to the corruptible power of these organizations, their backwards thinking coupled with seemingly unquestioned authority has been destroying female opportunity for a long time. It’s increasingly dominating my sport of volleyball, and in many cases, literally adding insult to injury.  

USAV says they “build, create and support a safe, inclusive and positive volleyball experience and a lifetime of opportunity for all,” out of one side of their mouth, but allow men to displace women out of the other — compromising both safety and fairness for all the women competing.  

Their current guidelines allow male participation in “girls” leagues as long as they take synthetic hormones, depending on the age. These regulations are looser than USA Boxing!  

Far from comprehensive, they neglect male advantages untouched by synthetic hormones, for instance, height (which is one of the greatest advantages to a volleyball player on the front row). Men’s nets following USAV regulation stand over seven inches higher than the women’s net. League officials clearly know the advantage exists; they just choose to ignore it for the sake of a woke agenda.  

Several years ago, as a college athlete-hopeful, these discriminatory policies almost robbed me of a chance to achieve my dreams.  

Club volleyball is the gateway to college volleyball. It’s any athlete’s best shot at recruitment. College coaches need the practical opportunity to evaluate as many prospects as possible in a single weekend. This creates a monopoly of opportunity and choke-holds girls into USAV compliance.  

I missed my prom, traveled most weekends in-season, and drove over an hour nearly every day to a competitive club. It was also a heavy financial burden on my parents, but one they were willing to make as it could eventually pay off in college scholarship money.  

At one of these tournaments, in front of college scouts, I had to play against a boy on a “girls’” team. All the time and effort I placed into refining my skills suddenly didn’t matter as much anymore. The vertical jump I spent years trying to increase was weak compared to my opponent’s. Of course, his benefitted greatly because of his sex.  

I walked away feeling cheated but assumed USAV would put a stop to it. I was horribly wrong. Why would they? There is no accountability keeping them in check, so there is no incentive in defying political pressures to maintain fairness. 

The corruption in these organizations is not confined to domestic play. Because of the 1978 bill, their rules help determine what athletes represent us in the Olympics.  

Not only do rules like USAV’s rob women and girls of a fair chance to compete in the Olympics, but they also send a clear message to the world: the best women athletes in the U.S. are biological men. We’re supposed to stand as the country of opportunity. How ironic! 

We must stop this clear signal not only for the sake of international affairs, but for the little girls inside our borders. The ones who look to the Olympic athletes as examples of opportunity, as hope for what they can achieve.  

What message will she receive when the “women’s” court is dominated by men? The same message I received from the USAV when they sacrificed my fair shot to affirm the feelings of a biological boy.  

That is why Steube and Tuberville’s bill, the “Protection of Women in Olympic and Amateur Sports Act” is necessary. It is past time we push back against this regression and protect female opportunity in sports.  

Sports-specific organizations have abused their power for decades. We cannot continue to allow their perverse policies to extend to U.S. participation in the Olympics if their definition of a “female athlete” isn’t female at all.