June 16, 2023

Senator Ricketts’ Weekly Column: Protecting Women’s Sports from the Biden Administration

June 16, 2023

In Nebraska, we have a lot to be proud of. Our women’s sports are no exception. The UNL Women’s Volleyball team has won five national championships and is one of UNL’s three profit-producing teams, along with football and men’s basketball. In August, women’s volleyball teams from across the state will be playing to a sold-out Memorial Stadium in the hopes of breaking the record for the most attended women’s sporting event in American history. The Creighton Women’s Basketball team has made the NCAA tournament four of the last six years. The UNO Women’s Softball team just made history by winning their first Summit League Championship and advancing to the NCAA Regional tournament.

For over fifty years, landmark civil rights legislation passed by Congress has prohibited sex-based discrimination in sports and education programs that receive federal government funding. In that time, we’ve seen women succeed and thrive through athletics. Sadly, today, that legislation – commonly referred to as Title IX – is under attack by those determined to allow biological males to compete in girls’ and women’s athletics. If successful, they would upend the grit and dedication of our female athletes to appease the loud voices of a few who refuse to accept simple biology and the physical advantages biological males have. This is clearly unfair.

This is not a tomorrow problem. It is happening right now in middle schools, high schools, and colleges across the country. We’re already seeing the negative repercussions on female athletes in other states.

Lia Thomas, formerly named William Thomas, began college swimming as an average athlete on the University of Pennsylvania’s men’s swim team. Thomas later “transitioned” to join the women’s swim team. At the 2022 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, Thomas won the women’s 500-meter freestyle. In a different event at the same meet, Thomas tied for 5th place with biological woman Riley Gaines. In a slap in the face to all biological women athletes, at the podium, the trophy was given to Thomas. Gaines – the biological woman – was left empty-handed.

Imagine being a little girl with one dream: to compete at the highest level and win a title, only to realize you’re at a severe disadvantage before you even dive into the pool or step onto the track, court, or field. Millions of girls have this dream. The movement to allow biological males in girls’ and women’s sports goes against the very protections put in place over fifty years ago.

The science is clear, biological men have undeniable physical advantages in athletics over biological women. These advantages don’t go away because of body-altering surgeries or hormone therapies after puberty. There is a reason we have separate leagues for men and women from elementary school all the way up to professional athletics. For years, requirements within those leagues have differed to accommodate the physical differences between biological men and biological women.

The Biden administration’s changes to Title IX would not only allow biological males to compete against women, but also force schools to allow them to use women’s locker rooms and restrooms. This is just not right. As a state so proud of its exceptional female athletics, we must take a stand. As a father of two daughters, I am committed to saving women’s sports.

That’s why I co-sponsored Senator Tommy Tuberville’s (R-AL) Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act to ensure Title IX provisions recognize gender solely as that which a person was biologically born. It will also ban recipients of federal funding from operating, sponsoring, or facilitating athletic programs that permit biological males to participate in a women’s sporting event. Previous generations’ daughters, sisters, and granddaughters have worked too hard to have opportunities denied to the current generation. As we approach the 51st anniversary of Title IX, we must do everything we can to protect women’s sports from the Biden administration.

Along with Senator Fischer and the rest of my colleagues in the Nebraska delegation, my team and I are here to serve you. Contact my team and I anytime by phone at 202-224-4224 or on my website at www.ricketts.senate.gov/contact. I am honored to serve our great state and will continue to work to protect the Good Life from Washington overreach.