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50 Current and former transgender and nonbinary college athletes sent a letter to the NCAA on Wednesday, pressuring it over its response to the nationwide wave of bills that restrict participation in sports by transgender athletes.
The athletes criticized the governing body’s May 16 decision to schedule new softball regional tournament events in three states—Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee—that have passed anti-trans sports bills. Those laws effectively ban trans girls and women—and in Alabama and Tennessee, for example, also boys and men—from competing in the categories aligned with their gender identity.
“We, the undersigned, are deeply disappointed and hurt by the NCAA’s choice to host Division I softball championship games in states with transgender athlete bans,” began the letter, which is addressed to NCAA president Mark Emmert; senior vice president of inclusion, education, and community engagement Derrick Gragg; and the Board of Governors. “We are a group of transgender and non-binary current and former NCAA student-athletes, the community you claimed to ‘firmly and unequivocally support’ in your statement released on April 12th, 2021. Only a month ago, you declared the NCAA ‘supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports’ and that ‘[t]his commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition.’ This statement is in stark contrast to the decision to host championship games in states with transgender athlete bans.”
The NCAA’s current policy, established in 2010, allows transgender women athletes who take one year of testosterone-suppression treatment to compete alongside their cisgender peers. In states that have banned participation by transgender athletes, though, transgender women college athletes would not be able to compete in women’s categories at all—they’d either have to compete with men, which experts say could put undue stress on their mental health, or sit out altogether.
The letter was organized by Athlete Ally policy and programs manager Emet Marwell, himself briefly an NCAA athlete on the field hockey team at Mount Holyoke, before he transitioned and lost eligibility. It was signed by athletes from 30 schools, including Duke, Michigan, Michigan State and Colorado State.
The bills have been signed into law in seven states (Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, West Virginia and Idaho, where a judge’s preliminary injunction prevents its enforcement for now) and have been proposed in dozens of others. In South Dakota, Republican Governor Kristi Noem passed a similar policy by executive order. The bills typically require that, if anyone—a teammate, opponent, parent or other—calls an athlete’s gender into question, in order to compete in girls and women’s sports, they must provide proof in the form of a genital exam from a doctor, a genetics test indicating XX chromosomes or a hormone test confirming natural testosterone levels fall within a certain range.
Dani Wheeler, a rising junior at Nebraska Wesleyan, where they swim and throw javelin, signed the letter. “It would be a great benefit to me and to other transgender athletes to know that the NCAA will always have our backs, even if it’s changing the location of a tournament or a championship to show their support,” they said.
Added former Agnes Scott College softball utility player and cross-country runner Jordan Keesler: “It was important to sign that letter because [as] trans athletes, oftentimes we feel like we’re few and far between, that we are alone and the only people in our institutions. … People think that we don’t make it to play collegiate sports.”
In light of North Carolina’s 2016 passage of a so-called “bathroom bill,” which prohibited trans people from using the bathroom that matched their gender identity in schools and public facilities, the NCAA boycotted the state for championship events and instituted a new nondiscrimination policy. Since 2001, the NCAA has also refused to schedule championship events at schools that use offensive Native imagery or in states where governments fly the Confederate flag.
Earlier in May, in a written response to an Athlete Ally and GLAAD letter protesting the then-likely scheduling of the same softball championship events in states that had signed anti-trans legislation into law, the NCAA wrote, in part: “Our long-standing policy demonstrates our commitment to transgender student-athlete inclusion and fair competition. We are also concerned with the laws that you noted in several states and are tracking them and their pending effective dates closely. We will continue to follow our established championships selection process to ensure hosts for our Division I Softball Championship and all championships are able to foster an environment free from discrimination.”
The letter by Marwell and signed by current and former trans athletes countered: “Your actions speak louder than your words: you are not protecting the rights of trans and non-binary athletes to participate. We will not be silent as you perform your allyship to the world only to turn around and support those hurting trans athletes the most. We have endured too much already.”
The letter closed by asking the NCAA how it will ensure a discrimination-free environment for students in states that have passed bans, whether it will uphold its nondiscrimination policy and whether it will move championships from states, as it did from North Carolina. The note followed the Athlete Ally– and GLAAD-organized one from March demanding the NCAA pull championship events from states that had passed or were considering passing anti-trans sports bans. Nearly 550 college athletes, most of them cisgender, signed on.
“For so many people, it’s such an abstract thing, talking about trans athlete inclusion,” Marwell said. “So that’s another one of my goals with this letter, that I’m putting myself out there and that others feel comfortable putting themselves out there by signing on, that we are real people. And we exist and we have lives and we’re real names and real humans.”
Dubai revises Covid safety measures for events, activities
Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management has announced updated precautionary measures for events and activities, effective from May 17, 2021.
According to the revised measures, live entertainment and activities are allowed in restaurants, cafes and shopping malls for a trial period of one month (extendable) starting May 17. The latest precautionary measures must be observed, and performers and entertainers should be vaccinated against Covid-19.
All entertainment facilities and venues can have an increased capacity of 70 per cent, while hotels can raise their occupancy ceiling to 100 per cent.
The Supreme Committee stressed that it continues to be mandatory for people attending events and activities to wear face masks and observe a minimum physical distancing of two metres.
Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announces updated precautionary measures for events and activities. pic.twitter.com/XcUu0OpJbT
– Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) May 17, 2021
Wedding events are allowed, with the maximum attendance capped at 100 for wedding venues/hotels. All attendees and staff should have received the Covid-19 vaccine. Attendance at wedding events at homes is capped at 30; all attendees should strictly observe updated precautionary measures, including social distancing rules and wearing of masks.
Capacity at eateries
The maximum number of people allowed to sit on a single table at restaurants has been increased to 10. Coffee shops can have a maximum of six people per table. Restaurants are allowed to resume brunches with strict observance of updated precautionary measures outlined by authorities.
For a one-month extendable trial period starting May 17, 2021, bars will be permitted to re-open, provided all customers and staff have received the Covid-19 vaccine. The latest precautionary measures must be stringently observed, as required under the permit type.
Permits will also be given for community sports events, concerts and social and institutional events like gala dinners and award ceremonies for a trial period of one month (extendable) starting from May 17. Attendees and participants must have been vaccinated for Covid-19 and observe the latest precautionary measures as required under the permit type.
Fans and spectators will also be able to attend sports events, provided all attendees, participants and staff have received the Covid-19 vaccine. The attendance capacity for these permitted events should not exceed 70 per cent. The maximum attendance allowed for such events is 1,500 for indoor events and 2,500 for outdoor events.
Tulsa Could Lose NCAA Events, See Financial Impact If ‘Save Women’s Sports Act’ Becomes Law
The NCAA gives a warning that could threaten some large sporting events planned for Tulsa.
This has to do with Oklahoma Senate Bill 2, also known as the “Save Women’s Sports Act.” It prohibits anyone assigned male at birth from playing on women’s sports teams.
The BOK is scheduled to host the NCAA wrestling championship in 2023, but if the bill becomes law, that might not happen.
“When you think about the NCAA wrestling in ‘23 coming which we’ve been bidding and preparing for five years, that’s $17 million in revenue alone,” said President of Tulsa Regional Tourism, Ray Hoyt.
NCAA Championships like this one have brought more than $27 million to Tulsa in the past 10 years, and future events are already scheduled.
“In the long term, it could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue and those jobs because now we don’t have that activity,” said Hoyt.
Hoyt said it’s very difficult to get the NCAA Board of Governors to pick your city to host events in, and that could cause a ripple effect impacting hotels and businesses in the area.
“That will be the bigger loss is what would we lose in the future that we don’t even get considered for,” said Hoyt.
In the statement, the NCAA Board of Governors said the NCAA will not host championships in states that have anti-transgender laws or bills, saying “when determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected.”
Hoyt said if Senate Bill 2 goes through, these events would be gone.
“If we want to adopt a transgender policy, then let’s adopt one that’s been approved by the NCAA and other bodies. Therefore, we’re in compliance with them and we still get the benefit of having them here and the benefit of having a transgender policy,” said Hoyt.
Former OSU athlete and co-author of the bill, Shelia Dills, says,
Osage County Representative Sean Roberts also sponsored the bill, and says,
Tulsa Representatives Melissa Provenzano, District 79, and John Waldron, District 77, said the OSSAA already has policies and procedures in place which haven’t needed to be applied so far.
“The real situation is that we have kids who need our love and support just like any other kids, and we have to remember that,” said Provenzano.
“The people who are much closer to the problem already know how to address the situation and they can come up with fair rules that don’t involve getting into the privacy of our students or discouraging trans athletes from participating in our sports,” said Waldron.
Several NCAA championship events are already scheduled to happen across the state in the next few years.
World Cups among 97 events UK Sport hopes country can host over next decade | News News | Sky Sports
The UK has identified almost 100 international sporting events it has aspirations to host over the next decade which would bring a combined benefit to the economy of almost £7bn.
UK Sport, with strong support from the Government, has earmarked 97 events across 44 sports, including 46 world championships, between now and 2031.
Some of those events have already been secured, while others like the 2030 men’s football World Cup, an English bid for the 2025 women’s rugby World Cup and the 2031 Ryder Cup are at the feasibility study stage.
While UK Sport could not put a figure on how many of those events it would actually secure, it said the UK’s bid success ratio stood at around 80 per cent over the last four years, which would equate to 78 of those 97 events being secured if bids ultimately went in for all of them.
The biggest prize of all would arguably be the men’s centenary football World Cup in 2030.
FIFA is set to outline the bidding process by the second quarter of next year, with a decision due to be taken on the hosts at its 2024 Congress.
The UK and Ireland are exploring the feasibility of a joint bid for those finals, but could find themselves up against Spain and Portugal to be UEFA’s preferred bidder.
There is then expected to be a South American bid, which at the very least would command sentimental support given Uruguay hosted the inaugural finals in 1930.
UK Sport chief operating officer Simon Morton said football politics were part of the discussions around feasibility, but believes there are many differences with this bid compared to the failed England-only attempt for the 2018 finals.
“FIFA has made some significant and important changes to the bid process, it has become significantly more transparent,” he said.
“Some said that the  bid was perhaps a bit too insular – well we’re talking about a five-nation bid, so the tone is completely different.
“This is pioneering, this is unprecedented in terms of what we’re talking about. So I think those things give us confidence that after 11 years since the last bid, things have the potential to be different this time around.”
The list also includes a feasibility study into hosting the Grand Depart of a future Tour de France, while other so-called ‘mega events’ classed as opportunities include the World Athletics and Para-Athletics Championships, the men’s and women’s cricket World Cups, the men’s cricket world T20, the European Championships and tennis’ Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup finals.
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World Cups among 97 events UK Sport hopes country can host over next decade | News News | Sky Sports