Another defender for women and girls has stepped to the forefront. Seth Huston, swim coach at Rice University, put himself in the spotlight in an interview with Swim Swam when he challenged the transgender athlete policies of the NCAA.
As reported by Laurel Duggan, Huston defended Lia Thomas’s right to compete in collegiate sports, but he does not believe that she, as a biological male, has the right to compete with women in college swimming.
But I think, black and white right now, you compete as what you were biologically born until we get to a point where we’ve expanded opportunities… I think there’s going to be a lot of frustrated competitors, and families and fans in the sport in the end if we continue down this short-term road right now.
Lia Thomas, then known as Will Thomas, competed for three years in men’s college swimming. Will began to identify as a transgender woman and changed his name to Lia. Now she swims for the women’s team at University of Pennsylvania. She has dominated the sport and shattered records set by biological women, setting new records that women can never break.
Huston is the first active Division I coach to address the transgender athlete debate. “I just feel like we’re bowing to, in this particular instance, to one person…. And really to the detriment of thousands of other athletes potentially. And I don’t think that’s right.” In 2021, Huston was named as one of the top one hundred greatest coaches by the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America.
Expressing support for Thomas’ decision to transition and to compete in collegiate swimming, Huston said that Thomas should not be allowed to compete in the women’s category. He suggested the idea of creating a third category for athletes – one for transgender athletes.
Huston indicated that he thinks the NCAA governing board “has become a bystander” who waits “for other organizations to make tough decisions.” His assessment could be spot on.
According to Duggan, “NCAA updated its trans athlete policy on Jan. 19 to allow each sport to determine its own guidelines on allowing biological men to compete in women’s sports.” She continued, “These guidelines allow sports’ governing bodies to require trans athletes to demonstrate testosterone levels below a certain threshold, but they do not bar males form competing in women’s sports.”
Huston did not say that Thomas should not compete. However, he did say that it is “patently unfair to all the other competitors” for Thomas to compete against biological women. This seems like it should be obvious to anyone with eyes to see and a brain that thinks. Sports for women are separate than sports for men because women deserve a level playing field.