Transgender Lia Thomas will be eligible to compete at conference championships, Ivy League confirms

UPenn swimmer speaks out against school’s handling of Lia Thomas saga

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Transgender University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas will be able to compete at the conference championships despite growing controversy surrounding the athlete’s eligibility, the Ivy League confirmed.

While it remains unclear whether Thomas will be eligible to compete in the NCAA Championships scheduled for next month, an Ivy League spokesperson confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday that the swimmer will be eligible to compete at the final Ivy League Championships this month.

Penn transgender swimmer Lia Thomas speaks to her coach after winning the 500-meter freestyle during an NCAA college swimming meet with Harvard Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
(AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

“The recent rule changes do not impact Lia’s eligibility for this month’s Ivy League Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships as the effective date for this unprecedented midseason NCAA policy change begins with the 2022 NCAA Winter Championships,” the spokesperson said in an email to Fox News.

Lia Thomas of the Pennsylvania Quakers after winning the 500-meter freestyle event during a tri-meet against the Yale Bulldogs and the Dartmouth Big Green at Sheerr Pool on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania on January 8, 2022, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

The new guidelines aim to enable “transgender athlete participation in the U.S. that relies on science and medical evidence-based methods to provide a level-playing field for elite cisgender women, and to mitigate the advantages associated with male puberty and physiology.”

In order for a male-to-female transgender athlete to compete in an elite swimming event, the new policy requires a decision-making panel of three independent medical experts to determine eligibility based on two criteria: “Evidence that the prior physical development of the athlete as a male, as mitigated by any medical intervention, does not give the athlete a competitive advantage over the athlete’s cisgender female competitors”; and “Evidence that the concentration of testosterone in the athlete’s serum has been less than 5 nmol/L (as measured by liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry) continuously for a period of at least thirty-six (36) months before the date of application.”

Lia Thomas of the Pennsylvania Quakers smiles after winning the 200 yard freestyle event during a tri-meet against the Yale Bulldogs and the Dartmouth Big Green on January 8, 2022, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Last week, sixteen of Thomas’ female teammates on the University of Pennsylvania team sent a letter to Penn and to the Ivy League, urging schools not to contest the new USA Swimming rules on competition for transgender athletes.

The Ivy League conference meet is set to be held at Harvard University from Feb. 16 to 19.

Fox News’ Tyler O’Neil contributed to this article.

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