In the past, The Daily Citizen has reported on the problems of biological males competing in women’s sports. Now, NCAA Division I cross country is receiving its first biologically male athlete who will compete as a woman this fall.
The Daily Caller reported that, “June Eastwood, who identifies as a transgender woman, will represent the University of Montana” in cross country this year. According to the University of Montana’s website, Eastwood ran all three of his freshman, sophomore, and junior years in cross country as a male. However, he has now decided to participate on the women’s team for his senior year.
Eastwood was quite successful in his collegiate running career on the male team. Some of his best times include a 6k which he ran in 19:03, an 8k which he ran in 24:16, and a 10k that he ran in exactly 33 minutes.
According to the running blog Lets Run, Eastwood’s running times as a male would obliterate almost any women he might run against. For example, Lets Run stacked up Eastwood’s times to see how he might fare against the women. “Eastwood’s personal best in the 800 meters is 1:55.23. That’s almost four seconds faster than the women’s collegiate record of 1:59.10 set by Raevyn Rogers in 2017…. As a male, his best event was the 1500m, where his personal best time of 3:50.19 is just a bit slower than the women’s world record of 3:50.07 by Genzebe Dibaba.” That’s right, Eastwood’s 1500m time would nearly hold the world record if it was a woman’s time.
Lets Run also reported that last Saturday, Eastwood made history by becoming the first “transgender woman” to compete as an NCAA Division I cross country athlete. He made his debut on the University of Montana women’s team at the Clash of the Inland Northwest meet in Cheney, Washington. “Eastwood finished seventh overall, the second finisher on the Montana team, covering the four-kilometer course in 14:33. Eastwood’s freshman teammate Beatrix Frissell won the meet, finishing 19.3 seconds ahead of Eastwood.”
The reason Eastwood can run as a woman is because the NCAA has adopted policies allowing athletes to compete as the opposite sex if certain conditions are met. For the NCAA, a biological man may compete as a woman if the athlete has “completed one year of testosterone suppression treatment.” The policies are outlined in the NCAA Inclusion of Transgender Student-Athletes document. It seems like the NCAA gave authority over the creation of this document to LGBT advocacy groups such as “The Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network Sports Project” and the “National Center for Lesbian Rights Sports Project.” Members of those groups are listed as the authors of the document. Other activist organizations involved in its creation include, “Lambda Legal, American Civil Liberties Union, Transgender Law Center, National Center for Transgender Equality, and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.”
University of Montana athletic director Kent Haslam told The Daily Caller that the NCAA policy is the reason they are permitting Eastwood to compete as a woman. “‘We have followed the NCAA bylaws and policies in place when it comes to inclusion of transgender student-athletes and participation in intercollegiate athletic competition. I am not in a position to know if Eastwood will gain an unfair advantage. It is not my area of expertise and therefore we rely on the policies as set by the NCAA.’”
The NCAA guidance attempts to address the concern that biological men have physical advantages if they compete against women. The document states, “According to medical experts on this issue, the assumption that a transgender woman competing on a women’s team would have a competitive advantage… is not supported by evidence.”
However, contrary evidence shows that’s not true. A paper published in the Journal of Medical Ethics found that the advantage biological men have when competing in women’s sports is “intolerable.” The Daily Caller reported that according to the article, “‘healthy young men did not lose significant muscle mass (or power) when their circulating testosterone levels were reduced to below International Olympic Committee guidelines for 20 weeks.’” In addition, hormone therapy will not significantly change the biological advantages men have over women. “‘Hormone therapy will not alter bone structure, lung volume or heart size of the transwoman athlete, especially if she transitions post-puberty, so natural advantages including joint articulation, stroke volume and maximal oxygen uptake will be maintained.’”
This essay explains what we all know intuitively: men and women are biologically different. Not even so-called sex-change surgery or hormone therapy can change that.
As a former collegiate cross country athlete, I am particularly aware of the biological advantages that men generally have over women in college athletics. There is a reason at each cross country meet, men and women raced separately. The NCAA should consider revising its policy and look beyond the interests of large LGBT activist organizations. The future of women’s sports depends upon it.