More On: Lia Thomas
Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer and biological male, has been nominated by the University of Pennsylvania for the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Woman of the Year award.
Out of the roughly 223,000 female collegiate athletes nationwide, Thomas is one of the 577 nominees.
The NCAA's Woman of the Year award honors "female student-athletes who have reached the limit of their eligibility and distinguished themselves during their collegiate careers in their community, in athletics, and in academics."
Up to two female student-athletes from NCAA member schools may be nominated for the award, with the restriction that one of the nominees "must be an international student-athlete or student-athlete of color."
The NCAA will celebrate the top 30 nominees and announce the prize winner at its annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, in January 2022, the year that will mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX.
After taking first place in the women's 500-yard freestyle event at the NCAA swimming championship, Thomas, who had underwhelming results when competing against male student-athletes, gained notoriety this year.
Political commentators, skeptics, and Thomas' teammates were all stunned by her performance. 16 of Thomas' classmates expressed their dissatisfaction with his "unfair advantage over competition in the women's category" in an anonymous letter to UPenn and the Ivy League.
According to the letter, Lia has a biological advantage over rivals in the women's division, as shown by her rankings, which have jumped from #462 for males to #1 for women.
You can see he is psychologically unwell, according to another teammate.
“You can tell he is mentally ill. I saw the video and was so disgusted. Lia identified as a woman, but she is not a female,” the teammate said. “That is a fact. It doesn’t matter how you feel.”
Women’s tennis legend Martina Navratilova said that Thomas’s name should be accompanied by an “asterisk.”
“It’s not about excluding transgender women from winning ever,” Navratilova said. “But it is about not allowing them to win when they were not anywhere near winning as men.”
“But right now, the rules are what they are,” she continued. “Maybe put an asterisk there, if she starts breaking records left and right.”
The 577 nominees for NCAA’s Women of the Year represent student-athletes across 23 sports from the Division I, Division II, and Division III levels.