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Lia Thomas controversy leads women's sports advocates to speak out against NCAA: 'It's about fairness'

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Former USA Swimming official Cynthia Millen calls for rules to change to ensure fairness in women’s athleticsWomen's sports advocates are speaking out against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and its rules on transgender student athlete participation ahead of the NCAA Championships this March, warning that the future of women’s sports is in danger if transgender swimmer Lia Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania is allowed to keep competing on the women’s team.The Ivy League and University of Pennsylvania both released statements last week defending Thomas, who has been shattering records in women’s swimming ever since she was allowed to switch from the men’s to the women’s team under NCAA rules after undergoing testosterone suppression treatment.LIA THOMAS CONTROVERSY: NCAA SILENT AMID MOUNTING CRITICISM OVER TRANGENDER ATHLETE POLICY (Penn Athletics)Unlike Penn and the Ivy League, the NCAA has yet to weigh in on mounting criticism over its transgender athlete policy that critics argue threatens the very future of women's sports."It’s about fairness in women’s sports," Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer and chief executive of the advocacy group Champion Women, told Fox News Digital in a phone interview Wednesday. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)Hogshead-Makar and other critics, like Swimming World editor-in-chief John Lohn, say Thomas has only rolled back her times roughly 2-3% since she left the men’s team and started testosterone suppression therapy, but that male swimmers typically record times that are more than 10% faster than women, meaning she still has a significant competitive edge over her biologically female competitors.NCAA adopted its transgender policy in 2011, stating that a trans female student athlete being treated with testosterone suppression medication "may continue to compete on a men’s team but may not compete on a women’s team without changing it to a mixed team status until completing one calendar year of testosterone suppression treatment."Thomas, who competed on the men’s team for three years before switching to the women's team in 2020, has been receiving the treatment for nearly three years.SWIMMING PARENTS SPEAK OUT, CALL ON NCAA TO REVIEW RULES REGARDING TRANSGENDER ATHLETES AND WOMEN'S SPORTSHogshead-Makar pointed Fox News to a webinar about the NCAA policy last April featuring LaGwyn Durden, director of the NCAA Sport Science Institute, and Amy Wilson, managing director of the NCAA Office of Inclusion, in which Durden admitted the transgender policy was adopted without any significant research guiding its decision."This is definitely a complex issue," Durden said at the time. Good for Lia.’ But it’s wrong," former USA Swimming official Cynthia Millen, who resigned in protest last month after three decades officiating swim meets with the organization, told Fox News Digital in a phone interview Wednesday.UPENN TRANSGENDER SWIMMER'S DOMINANCE 'GROSSLY UNFAIR' TO WOMEN: FORMER USA SWIMMING OFFICIALMillen says male swimmers are generally faster than women, because they have more fast-twitch muscle fibers that are beneficial during shorter bursts of exertion, like in swimming."From the very beginning, boys and girls are different in the way they swim. (Fox News Digital)Linda Blade, a Canada-based sports performance coach and kinesiologist, said the NCAA’s transgender policy was "poorly conceived" and athletes like Thomas are taking advantage of it."Self-identity is not of primary concern in sports.

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