Daily Press (Sunday)

Transgende­r debate hits home in state

- Sonny Dearth

A debate about the relatively few transgende­r women competing in sports put a spotlight on the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and the state of Virginia this week.

The Roanoke College women’s swimming team held a press conference Thursday, asking the NCAA to save women’s sports from trans women competitor­s. The Maroons relayed a recent incident involving a trans swimmer who had joined the women’s team this year after competing as a man for Roanoke. (That unidentifi­ed swimmer since has quit, possibly wanting to avoid the scrutiny and spotlight her situation could bring.)

I saw a report featured on NewsNation, and I suspect other national outlets mentioned it too.

The Maroons were joined by Riley Gaines, a 12-time NCAA All-American swimmer who has become an activist against trans women in sports, as well as Paula Scanlan, a former Pennsylvan­ia swimmer who said she had “nightmares for weeks” about sharing a locker room with Lia Thomas, who became an NCAA women’s champion after transition­ing from male.

A New York Post report noted that team co-captain Bailey Gallagher was supportive of the trans swimmer’s transition. All three team captains, according to the report, said they have no problem with the trans swimmer as a person, but were “worried about her competitiv­e advantage and the possibilit­y that other schools would refuse to compete against Roanoke.”

Unfortunat­ely, there’s no easy answer, except kindness, empathy and respect that people will hold various opinions. My suggestion: Trans athletes should be able to compete for schools if they want, but not for official championsh­ips against those who are female from birth.

Miyares writes to support JMU:

Regardless of political leanings, James Madison fans have to thank Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, a Republican who grew up in Virginia Beach and graduated from Salem High. He wrote a letter this week to the NCAA requesting that the Dukes be allowed to play in a bowl in their second FBS season, one year earlier than usual for a team making the transition from the FCS.

A similar appeal was rejected earlier this year, and this one probably won’t work either. But as Virginia’s most prominent lawyer, Miyares said he felt the need to support the athletes at his alma mater.

The Dukes are 5-0, 2-0 in the Sun Belt Conference, and are receiving votes below the top 25.

In an interview with WHSV, a TV station in Harrisonbu­rg, Miyares said, “The reason why the NCAA is so unpopular with so many fans in college athletics is it seems like their decision-making makes no sense.”

Chesapeake native to work with PGA: The Carolinas PGA Section hired Jordan Young of Chesapeake, a student at North Carolina A&T, as its PGA Works Fellow.

The fellowship, establishe­d in 2017, yields the opportunit­y for a one-year, paid immersion in a PGA Section’s Foundation operations.

PGA Sections oversee the 41 regions of the PGA of America across the U.S. and help create the network of communicat­ion and community for PGA pros and amateur golfers.

Young, a son of a basketball coach, graduated in May from A&T with a marketing degree. He was an intern with the Aggies’ athletic department for three years and was part of the Black Sports Business Academy. According to the PGA, Young credits that for jump-starting his early career in sports.

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