Outrage Ensues After UPenn Nominates Male Swimmer as NCAA ‘Woman of the Year’

Outrage Ensues After UPenn Nominates Male Swimmer as NCAA ‘Woman of the Year’

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.

Tennis legend Marina Navratilova, who has criticized allowing men into women’s sports, slammed the NCAA, asking, “What is wrong with you?”

Then, responding to a critic of her tweet, she replied:

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.”

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



Photo from Twitter.

About The Author

Jeff Johnston

Jeff Johnston is a culture and policy analyst for Focus on the Family and a staff writer for the Daily Citizen. He researches, writes and teaches about topics of concern to families such as parental rights, religious freedom, LGBT issues, education and free speech. Johnston has been interviewed by CBS Sunday Morning, The New York Times, Associated Press News, The Christian Post, Rolling Stone and Vice, and is a frequent guest on radio and television outlets. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from San Diego State University with a Bachelors in English and a Teaching Credential. He and his wife have been married 30 years and have three grown sons.