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Women’s rights groups want NCAA tournament moved out of Idaho in protest

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Billie Jean King is among athletes objecting to the new Idaho law

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-A variety of Civil rights, women’s rights, and sports groups, along with an assortment of well-known athletes, have sent letters urging the National Collegiate Athletic Association to move the 2021 Men’s Basketball Championship out of Idaho due to the passage of a state law banning many transgender and intersex students from participating in sports. 

Among those signing are Billie Jean King and Megan Rapinoe, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Boise State is slated to host the first and second round of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. 

One of its letters quotes the NCAA’s own statement on the Idaho law:

“HB500 is harmful to transgender student-athletes and conflicts with the NCAA’s core value of fair treatment of all individuals. The membership believes that transgender student-athletes should have nondiscriminatory and respectful participation opportunities on college sports teams, and we are working to understand how this law will impact college athletes in Idaho. It is our hope that all individuals will be treated with fairness and respect in athletics.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, Legal Voice, and Cooley LLP have sued the state of Idaho on behalf of Lindsay Hecox, a transgender student at Boise State University and Jane Doe,a cisgender high school athlete.

The National Women’s Law Center is also voicing objection to the law, stating, “Athletics are a space where everyone should be welcome, regardless of their gender or gender identity. The NCAA should make it clear that anti-transgender discrimination has no place in sports,” said Neena Chaudhry, general counsel and senior advisor for education.

You can see a copy of the letter here.

Barbara Ehardt has released the following statement.

"I was proud to have authored legislation that will protect opportunities for girls and women in sports. Title IX changed my life. It provided
opportunities for girls and women that previously had only been reserved for boys and men. I know firsthand that we simply cannot compete against the inherent physiological and scientifically proven advantages that biological males poses, regardless of hormone usage.  

Certainly I am disappointed to see fellow female athletes not support and
encourage the success of girls and women as they pursue their own dreams. Maintaining a fair playing field that allows us to also stand atop the podium an nd experience the joys of winning is essential to this legislation. We do not want to lose almost 50 years of progress."  

Barbara Ehardt
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