The Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan, August 2021. (Clodagh Kilcoyne / Reuters)

The University of Pennsylvania is weighing whether to pursue legal action if transgender swimmer Lia Thomas is prohibited from competing in the upcoming NCAA women’s swimming championship, according to a report.

A swimmer on the university’s women’s team told Fox News, ““I have a feeling that if USA Swimming changes their rules, they will be filing a lawsuit for Lia to swim, but they wouldn’t do that for us.”

“That’s just really upsetting,” the swimmer told the outlet under the condition of anonymity, adding that she had heard about the potential lawsuit that from “some of the administrators.”

Thomas is eligible to compete on the women’s team under current USA Swimming rules that require a year of testosterone suppression. Under new NCAA rules, transgender athletes will be required to document testosterone levels to remain eligible, leaving Thomas’ eligibility for the NCAA women’s championships up in the air.

The NCAA announced earlier this week that it had updated its transgender-participation policy to reflect the practices of the U.S. and International Olympic Committees. Under the new policy, transgender participation in a particular sport will be determined by that sport’s national governing body. If no such governing body exists, participation will be determined by the sport’s international federation rules. In the event that an international federation has no transgender policy, the American branch of a particular sport will follow the IOC policy.

The new NCAA policy says that, by March, “Transgender student-athletes will need to document sport-specific testosterone levels beginning four weeks before their sport’s championship selections. Starting with the 2022-23 academic year, transgender student-athletes will need documented levels at the beginning of their season and a second documentation six months after the first. They will also need documented testosterone levels four weeks before championship selections. Full implementation would begin with the 2023-24 academic year.”

The University of Pennsylvania swimmer told Fox News the change makes her “a little bit more hopeful” because the swimmers “kind of realize that it’s not just testosterone levels.”

“It’s testosterone levels from the last 20 years and how that affected, you know, the fact that [Thomas] went through male puberty and the way that built her heart and lungs and her hands and the way she circulates blood and the lactic acid and all that stuff.”

“Stuff that – it’s not just the difference between two girls and how one might have slightly larger lungs and that gives them a slight advantage,” she added. “These are monumental advantages that biological males just develop through puberty, and it’s not something that a year of [hormone treatments] can suppress because they still have all the muscle mass they had from the last 20 years.”

The swimmer went on to slam how the University of Pennsylvania has handled the situation.

“They’re just proving, once again, that they don’t actually care about their women athletes,” the swimmer said. “They say that they care and that they’re here for our emotions, but why do we have to be gracious losers? . . .  Who are you to tell me that I shouldn’t want to win because I do want to win. I’m swimming. I’m dedicating more than 20 hours a week to the sport. 

She continued: “Obviously, I want to win. You can’t just tell me I should be happy with second place. I’m not. And these people in Penn’s administrative department who just think that women should just roll over — it’s disturbing, and it’s reminiscent of the 1970s when they were fighting for Title IX and stuff like that. They don’t actually care about women at all.”

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