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ACU Sends Letter to NCAA President in Latest Effort to Protect Voters and Their Voices

President Mark Emmert
The National Collegiate Athletic Association
700 W. Washington Street
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206

April 14, 2021

Dear President Mark Emmert,

For well over 100 years, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has controlled men’s and women’s college athletics, establishing the rules of play as well as the relationships between athletes and schools. The NCAA clearly has a spotty record when it comes to providing women with appropriate opportunities to compete, but to its credit, much progress has been made in recent decades.

However, your decision to reverse the long-held position of the NCAA regarding women-only programs negates this progress. In caving to the demands of “woke” activists demanding that women athletes be penalized for being women begs the question: Why?

In March, South Dakota’s legislature overwhelmingly passed H.B. 1217, which prohibits biological males from competing in women’s sports throughout schools and universities.

Although originally eager to sign the South Dakota bill, Governor Kristi Noem backed away after you, as NCAA President, threatened the state with economic harm. Presumably, your timing was not a coincidence as the NCAA was set to appear before the Supreme Court in less than a week regarding a legal matter that threatens the NCAA’s existence.

It is clear that your actions are not motivated by a desire to enhance opportunities for female athletes. Instead, additional information sheds light on what might be your true motivation, a $20 Billion motivation.

The NCAA generates gargantuan sums of money—mostly from television broadcasting rights from men’s basketball and men’s football—and a large portion of that money is about to disappear from your balance sheet.

The US Supreme Court is set to decide whether the NCAA uses its monopoly power illegally, and most Court watchers predict a swift ruling against your organization. In an effort to maintain the status quo at all costs, it seems that the NCAA is charging into even deeper political territory as a fallback position, hoping that Congress will carve out an exemption under the Sherman Antitrust Act.

You have an uphill climb to curry favor with Nancy Pelosi. A majority of the NCAA’s detractors over the years have come from the political Left, often using Marxist dogma to decry how the organization takes profits associated with the labor of athletes while barely providing a pittance for their troubles. Indeed, the Biden Administration and several former officials of the NCAA filed compelling briefs against the NCAA. Sadly, your tactics appear to follow the well-worn path the NCAA has become known for: exploiting athletes. This time, however, you are exclusively targeting female athletes.

Studies show that transgender women have a competitive advantage against biological women: males are generally physically larger, have stronger respiratory function, and have greater muscle mass, even after hormone therapy. Allowing transgender athletes to compete against biological women not only threatens the future of women’s sports, it puts these athletes in physical peril. There is simply nothing fair about this; it does not advance equality.

However, your eagerness to preserve the $19.6 billion television contract the NCAA has with CBS to broadcast men’s basketball and the billions of dollars in revenue associated with men’s football means you continue to prioritize money over the wellbeing of student athletes.

Most Americans continue to stand for the anthem, do not think that gender is a “social construct,” and will not take a knee in response to the aggressive and destructive tactics of Leftist activists who seek to upend the rights and freedoms that every American is entitled to. Most Americans may not be as gifted as the female athletes you have left at the starting line, but they are just as outraged by your craven response to protect the NCAA’s cash flow.

That might be why a majority of state legislatures are considering legislation similar to the South Dakota bill you so aggressively criticized. Three other states – Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi – have already enacted similar laws this year. Idaho passed one in 2020. Dozens of other states have introduced similar legislation.

We call on you to stand down and desist from threatening governors and state legislators whose only motivation is to protect women’s athletics. We also ask that you meet with us to discuss appropriate ways protect women’s sports and the athletes who should be allowed to enjoy them. To continue pushing unpopular policies that harm women’s sports will only threaten the very future of the NCAA.

— The American Conservative Union

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