Riley Gaines and 15 other student athletes sue NCAA for letting male athletes trample women's sports

Riley Gaines and others are suing the NCAA and Georgia Tech for allowing male swimmers to compete against women.

The lawsuit also mentions the traumatic impact on female swimmers of being forced to share locker rooms with males.

Female swimmers are suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) for allowing men to compete against women in women’s sports. 

March 14, former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines, together with 15 other female athletes, filed a lawsuit against the NCAA claiming the organization violated Title IX: “The NCAA’s Transgender Eligibility Policies on their face and in practice deprive women of equal opportunity in comparison to men in college sports governed by the NCAA.”

The lawsuit also targets Georgia Tech, which hosted the “2022 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships” at which it “intentionally authorized and enabled [male swimmer Lia Thomas] to compete in the 2022 NCAA Championships and to access the women’s showers, locker rooms, and restrooms” at the competition. 

[RELATED: Lia Thomas eyes the 2024 Olympics]

Thomas, born Will Thomas, is a male swimmer who began competing in women’s swimming contests, achieving an “abrupt rise to dominance atop the NCAA women’s swimming world” because of his “retained male advantage,” as the plaintiffs state. 

The lawsuit argues that it is unfair to allow men to compete against women, relating that “[i]n 19 out of 25 NCAA women’s sports the testosterone threshold for males who want to compete as women is 10 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) which is five times (5x) greater than the highest level of testosterone any woman produces without doping.”

“The NCAA has simultaneously imposed a radical anti-woman agenda on college sports, reinterpreting Title IX to define women as a testosterone level, permitting men to compete on women’s teams, and destroying female safe spaces in women’s locker rooms by authorizing naked men possessing full male genitalia to disrobe in front of non-consenting college women and creating situations in which unwilling female college athletes unwittingly or reluctantly expose their naked or partially clad bodies to males, subjecting women to a loss of their constitutional right to bodily privacy,” the lawsuit states. 

The lawsuit would forbid men from competing in women’s sports, stop the University System of Georgia from forcing women to share locker rooms and other private spaces with men, “render invalid and reassign and revise all awards, records, points, prizes, titles, trophies, announcements or other recognition assigned” to male athletes who won in women’s sporting events, and provide compensation to female athletes who suffered as a result of being forced to compete against and share private spaces with men. 

Gaines has previously spoken about being forced to share a locker space with Thomas, saying: “[t]here’s a 6’4″ biological man dropping his pants and watching us undress, and we were exposed to male genitalia. Not even probably a year, two years ago, this would have been considered some form of sexual assault, voyeurism. But now, not even are they just allowing it to happen, it’s almost as if these large organizations are encouraging it to happen,” wrote the Daily Wire

According to Gaines, the female athletes who were placed in this situation were told “that if they feel uncomfortable seeing male genitalia in the locker room, then they should seek counseling resources,” and that “they will never get into grad school if they speak out,” the Daily Wire related. 

[RELATED: Former Lia Thomas teammate Paula Scanlan speaks with Campus Reform after testifying before Congress]

The 16 plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Bill Bock and Kevin Koons. Bock was “the lead attorney for the USADA in the investigation of the use of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong and other members of the United States Postal Service Cycling Team,” according to his website. 

This February, Bock “resigned in protest from [his] role as a longtime NCAA committee member” because of the organization’s policy of allowing men to compete against women, stating: “The NCAA’s transgender policy promotes sanctioned cheating. It gives colleges the green light to steal records and win championships with trans-identifying males on women’s teams. It deprives women of competitive opportunities and subjects them to physical, mental and emotional harm,” as he wrote in The Wall Street Journal

When reached out to for comment, an NCAA official referred Campus Reform to the organization’s policy on allowing transgender-identifying athletes to compete, which can be found on the NCAA website. 

Campus Reform has reached out to Georgia Tech for comment. This article will be updated accordingly. 

Follow Joshua Odutola on Twitter.