A few weeks ago, South Dakota’s Governor Kristi Noem tweeted, “In South Dakota, we’re celebrating International Women’s Day by defending women’s sports!” She was referring to the state’s “Women’s Fairness in Sports” bill, which would prohibit biological males from competing in female athletics. She then added, “I’m excited to sign the bill very soon!”
As it turns out, she wasn’t so excited after all. After the legislature passed the bill, the Republican governor vetoed it. More specifically, she issued what’s known as a “style and form veto,” asking the legislature to modify the bill. The changes she requested not only gut the bill, rendering it ineffective in its original intent of protecting girls and women, but also do great damage to the legislative efforts in a number of other states.
Portions of the bill, she claimed, “create a trial lawyer’s dream and include lawsuit opportunities that don’t need to be there . . . We could pass a law, get punished, and face litigation for nothing but a participation trophy.” That claim is somewhere between dubious and disingenuous. The South Dakota bill is similar to laws already passed in Idaho and Mississippi and introduced in a number of other states. The Idaho legislation was also backed and defended by 14 states’ attorneys general by means of an amicus brief.
Noem, however, is worried about the NCAA (the governing body for major college athletics). She told Tucker Carlson, “This bill would only allow the NCAA to bully South Dakota, and it would actually prevent women from being able to participate in collegiate sports.” So, among the “style and form” changes she requested is that the bill would only prevent biological males from competing against girls in elementary and high school athletics, not at the college level.
But the NCAA has no policy that the South Dakota bill would violate. While the NCAA allows men who have surgically or chemically transitioned to compete in women’s sports (and offers regulations to ensure what they claim is “fair”), as Margot Cleveland points out at the Federalist, “nothing in … NCAA policy requires a college or university to treat a male student-athlete as female.” If they did, they’d lose all the Christian colleges that are part of the NCAA.
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SOURCE: Breakpoint, John Stonestreet and David Carlson