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University Response to Implementing the NCAA Policy for Transgender Student-Athletes

1 January 2017


In 2011, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which governs athletics in 1,121 colleges and universities in America, released a handbook on Inclusion of Transgender Student-Athletes clarifying the rules and eligibility status for transgender athletes and gave suggestions and guidelines for schools to consider or implement. This was in response to the growing number of transgender people, some of whom are student athletes, coming forward and transitioning. Within the present study, we explored responses to an online survey of compliance officers, athletic directors, and athletic trainers regarding the implementation of these new policies. Through an exploratory qualitative design, we explored what schools have done or planned to do to become more inclusive for transgender student-athletes. Through the participants’ responses, four themes were found: Lack of information, In progress, Changes have been made, and Waiting. One subtheme was also found, This is not an issue. These themes best present the varying answers given by participants on their athletic departments’ response to the new NCAA guidelines. What is encouraging is that eighty-four percent of the participants have heard of the guidelines directly from the NCAA. While 14 (26%) of the participants’ schools had implemented a policy to assist transgender student-athletes. These findings suggest that some athletic departments have made changes to become more inconclusive for transgender and gender non-conforming student –athletes.


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