Joint Statement from GLAAD and Athlete Ally in response to NCAA championships in states with anti-trans sports bans

May 17, 2021


(New York, NY) — Athlete Ally and GLAAD responded today to news that NCAA Division 1 Softball championship sites for 2021 include schools in states with transgender athlete bans. This coincides with news that Division 1 Baseball regionals and super regionals potential sites also include states which have passed transgender athlete bans.

The states with anti-trans sports bans that will host Division I Softball championship events are: Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Florida will also host a game; that state's legislature passed an anti-trans sports ban that Gov. Ron DeSantis has promised to sign once it hits his desk. In addition, states with discriminatory anti-trans bans hosted championship qualifiers this weekend, including Alabama and Mississippi.

The states with anti-trans sports bans that NCAA announced as finalists to host Division I Baseball championships are: Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Florida and Texas (also likely to pass its ban) are on the list as well.

“We are disappointed by the NCAA’s decision to host Division 1 Softball championship games and to propose Division I Baseball championships in states with legislation banning transgender student-athletes from participation,” said Athlete Ally and GLAAD in a joint statement. “On Friday, the NCAA told us in a letter that it works to ‘ensure hosts for…all championships are able to foster an environment free from discrimination,’ and NCAA policy states that NCAA events in all divisions must provide environments that are safe, healthy, and free of discrimination. Selecting states with discriminatory policies as sites for championship games goes directly against this policy by effectively banning transgender student athletes simply for being who they are. We call on the NCAA to reverse this decision and support the right of all student-athletes — including transgender student-athletes — to be safe, healthy and free of discrimination while participating in NCAA events.”

Last Monday, May 10, Athlete Ally and GLAAD sent a letter to the NCAA expressing concerns over what was then still a list of proposed sites for the softball championships. On Friday, May 14, the NCAA sent back a response that reiterated the NCAA's 2016 nondiscrimination policy and said that it would work to ensure "that all championships are able to foster an environment free from discrimination." 

Today, it is clear the NCAA is going back on its word. The NCAA created its trans-inclusive policy after boycotting North Carolina in response to that state's infamous 2016 'bathroom bill' HB2—and its boycott helped change the law and make North Carolina a safer and more inclusive place for trans people. Now there are eight U.S. states with discriminatory anti-trans sports bills signed into law, an issue that falls squarely into NCAA's lane even more than HB2 once did.

About Athlete Ally: Athlete Ally believes sport will change the world when it welcomes and empowers all people. As a leading national nonprofit working at the intersection of sport and LGBTQI+ equality, Athlete Ally works to end the structural and systemic oppression that isolates, excludes and endangers LGBTQI+ people in sport. We educate individuals and institutions to understand obstacles to inclusion for LGBTQI+ people and how they can build an inclusive culture within their athletic communities. We work to ensure sport governing bodies, teams and leagues adopt policies that reflect the diversity of their constituents. We incubate athlete activism to advance LGBTQI+ equality in and through sport. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.