South Carolina coach Dawn Staley claims transgender athletes ‘should be able to play’ in women’s basketball, admitting controversial stance will create a ‘distraction’ for her team ahead of March Madness final

Photo of author
Written By Maya Cantina
  • Dawn Staley and South Carolina will face Iowa in Sunday’s national title game 
  • In 2022, swimmer Lia Thomas became the only transgender national champion 
  • DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news

Legendary South Carolina coach Dawn Staley has controversially claimed that transgender athletes should be allowed to compete in women’s sports.

Speaking a day after her women’s basketball team beat NC State in the Final Four of March Madness, advancing to the national championship game against Iowa, Staley said anyone who considers themselves to be a woman should be free to play.

‘I’m of the opinion that if you’re a woman, you should play,’ Staley said. 

‘If you consider yourself a woman and you want to play sports, or vice-versa, you should be able to play.’

The 53-year-old, who has spent 16 years in charge of South Carolina, was fully aware she would invite criticism and controversy by voicing her stance.

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley claimed that transgender athletes ‘should be able to play’

In 2022, Lia Thomas became the only transgender athlete to win an NCAA national title

In 2022, Lia Thomas became the only transgender athlete to win an NCAA national title 

Staley and the Gamecocks will face the Iowa Hawkeyes in the national championship game

Staley and the Gamecocks will face the Iowa Hawkeyes in the national championship game 

‘So now the barnstormer people are going to flood my timeline and be a distraction to me on one of the biggest days of our game,’ she said. ‘And I’m OK with that. I really am.’

Hours later, Iowa coach Lisa Bluder refused to be drawn on the topic, insisting her focus was on Sunday’s final.

‘I understand it’s a topic that people are interested in. But today my focus is on the game tomorrow and my players,’ she said. 

‘It’s an important game we have tomorrow, and that’s what I want to be here to talk about. But I know it’s an important issue for another time.’

The rights of – and restrictions on – transgender athletes has become a contentious issue over recent years, spilling over into politics and even the justice system.

In January 2022, the NCAA amended its policy to allow each sport’s rules to be determined by a national governing body, international federation – or the 2015 Olympic standard.

That change came around the same time that transgender athlete Lia Thomas began competing in women’s swimming, even winning a national championship while at the University of Pennsylvania.

In basketball, the NCAA currently defers to the 2015 Olympic guidance regarding an allowable threshold of testosterone (under 10 nanomoles per liter). At present, there are no known transgender women competing in Division I basketball.

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

Leave a Comment

AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk AcUk