The University of Pennsylvania nominated swimmer Lia Thomas for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year award. He was one of 577 graduating student-athletes nominated for the prize.
The announcement that a male-bodied athlete was in the running for the prize brought outrage from many.
Thomas, who swam on the men’s swimming and diving team from 2017 to 2020, “transitioned” to living as a woman and won the 500-yard freestyle 2022 NCAA women’s championship.
The NCAA stated:
Each year, NCAA member schools are encouraged to celebrate their top graduating female student-athletes by nominating them for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Up to two female student-athletes can be recognized from each school if at least one of them is an international student-athlete or student-athlete of color.
Jennifer Braceras, director of the independent Women’s Law Center, tweeted that UPenn had deprived a female athlete of the honor.
UPenn has a LOT of great female athletes. But the university CHOSE to nominate #LiaThomas for NCAA female athlete of the year. Shame on Penn, depriving a woman of this honor. @IWF @IWV @icons_women @WomensLibFront @SaveWomensSport
— Jennifer C Braceras (@J_Braceras) July 15, 2022
Tennis legend Marina Navratilova, who has criticized allowing men into women’s sports, slammed the NCAA, asking, “What is wrong with you?”
Not enough fabulous biological women athletes, NCAA?!? What is wrong with you?!!!!!!!? https://t.co/5QAJyt0Qab
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) July 16, 2022
Then, responding to a critic of her tweet, she replied:
So I should be happy that biological women are pushed aside when it comes to sports? Not on your life…#biologymatters . Do you understand the difference?
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) July 16, 2022
Transgender activists and their allies accused her of being “transphobic,” but Navratilova held strong. Later, she added, “Biology matters in sports, not feelings , however strong they may be.”
The International Consortium on Female Sport’s (ICFS) foundational principle is: “Fairness and safety for female athletes in sport is ensured by having a dedicated category for those born female.”
The group released a statement about the nomination of Thomas for NCAA “Woman of the Year,” saying:
The nomination of a male person who identifies as transgender for one of America’s most prestigious female athlete awards is appalling. The Consortium holds both the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the University of Pennsylvania (PENN) responsible for their continued failure to provide female athletes with the same fair sports competition as their male counterparts, thereby undermining the promise and purpose of Title IX.
The organization said, “The NCAA failed in its Title IX obligation to female athletes to provide them with the same fair competition as their male counterparts.”
ICFS called on the NCAA and UPenn to withdraw the nomination.
Clay Travis, founder of Fox News’ Outkick.com, sarcastically, and using stronger language than we do at the Daily Citizen, tweeted that the nomination was quite “an accomplishment to be woman of the year after only being a woman for a couple of years.”
His tweet showed Thomas with Riley Gaines, a female swimmer from the University of Kentucky who tied with Thomas for fifth in the NCAA 200-yard freestyle championship. She was chosen as U of K’s nominee for the award.
Gaines, who has been an outspoken critic of men in women’s sports, replied that she was “the real girl in the photo” and said “the NCAA has made this award worthless.”
Being the real girl in that photo and also University of Kentucky's nominee for NCAA WOTY, this is yet another slap in the face to women. First a female national title and now nominated for the pinnacle award in collegiate athletics. The @NCAA has made this award worthless. https://t.co/MRCieqbltd
— Riley Gaines (@RileyGaines) July 16, 2022
Each NCAA Conference will now select up to two student athletes from their member schools, and those nominees will advance to the selection committee, which will determine the top 30 honorees.
But even if Thomas doesn’t make it that far, he still kept a woman from being the nominee from UPenn.
Instead of honoring women, Thomas, UPenn and the NCAA seem intent on dishonoring them, denying them opportunities, victories and accolades in women’s sports.
Thomas, as someone made in God’s image who is desperately confused about his true identity, deserves love and compassion from Christians.
Just ponder what the Father did in sending His Son to save humanity. God has that same amazing love for each of us – including Thomas.
But demonstrating love and compassion doesn’t mean that we deny reality and agree with deep mental and emotional confusion. Christianity offers hope for those caught in the transgender lie.
UPenn and the NCAA are collaborating with Thomas’ mental disorder, rather than pointing him toward healing and transformation.
Related articles and resources:
Female Athletes Ask NCAA for Fairness in Women’s Sports
Focus on the Family Broadcast, Part 1 and Part 2, with Rod Dreher, author of Live Not by Lies
Focus on the Family: Transgender Resources
International Swimming Federation (Mostly) Protects Women’s Aquatic Sports From Male Athletes
Louisiana Is Now the 18th State to Save Girls and Women’s Sports
On 50th Anniversary of Title IX, Groups Fight to Protect Women’s Sports
President Signs ‘LGBTQI+ Pride Month’ Executive Order