by WorldTribune Staff, July 17, 2022
Lia Thomas, a biological male who dominated women’s college swimming this past season, has been nominated by the University of Pennsylvania for the NCAA’s Woman of the Year Award.
Thomas, one of 577 nominees selected from the roughly 223,000 female collegiate athletes nationwide, won the women’s 500-yard freestyle event in the NCAA’s swimming championship.
The NCAA claims that its Woman of the Year award recognizes “female student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in their community, in athletics and in academics throughout their college careers.”
Before transitioning, Thomas competed for three years on Penn’s men’s swimming team and never “distinguished” himself as a contender in any event.
Women’s tennis legend Martina Navratilova said that Thomas’s name should be accompanied by an “asterisk.”
“It’s not about excluding transgender women from winning ever,” Navratilova said. “But it is about not allowing them to win when they were not anywhere near winning as men.”
NCAA member schools can nominate up to two female student-athletes for the award, with a caveat that if two are nominated, one “must be an international student-athlete or student-athlete of color.”
With 2022 marking the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the NCAA is honoring the top 30 nominees and naming the award winner at its annual convention in San Antonio in January.
The university nominated Thomas for the award despite an anonymous letter written to UPenn and the Ivy League in which 16 of Thomas’s classmates complained about an “unfair advantage over competition in the women’s category.”
“Biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over competition in the women’s category, as evidenced by her rankings that have bounced from #462 as a male to #1 as a female,” the letter said.