A member of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions, a voluntary group that prescribes penalties to member schools that break association rules, has resigned over NCAA policies regarding the participation of transgender athletes.
William Bock, the former general counsel of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, told The Associated Press on Friday that NCAA policies permitting transgender athletes to compete against women are unfair. He submitted a letter of resignation to NCAA president Charlie Baker dated Feb. 9.
“A lot of people have not known how to respond to the smoke screen that says that you can just suppress testosterone and that is going to make the playing field level,” Bock said. “And the policies that the NCAA and other sports organizations have come up with, which supposedly favor inclusion, actually discriminate.”
The NCAA declined to comment on Bock’s resignation, which was first reported by the Washington Examiner.
The NCAA became part of a politically divisive debate when Penn swimmer Lia Thomas became the first transgender woman to win a national title in 2022. Critics contend transgender athletes have an advantage over cisgender women in athletic competition, though extensive research is still generally lacking on elite athletics and virtually nonexistent when it comes to determining whether a collegiate transgender woman has a clear advantage over her cisgender opponents or teammates.
About two dozen states have passed laws banning transgender athletes from participating in female school sports.
The NCAA has had a policy for transgender athlete participation in place since 2010, which called for one year of testosterone suppression treatment and documented testosterone levels submitted before championship competitions. In 2022, the NCAA revised its policies on transgender athlete participation to attempt to align with national sport governing bodies, following the lead of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
The three-phased implementation of the policy included a continuation of the 2010 policy, requiring transgender women to be on hormone replacement therapy for at least one year, plus the submission of a hormone-level test before the start of both the regular season and championship events.
The third phase adds national and international sport governing body standards to the NCAA’s policy and — after a delay — is scheduled to be implemented for the 2024-25 school year.
Baker and the NCAA — which includes more than 1,100 schools and 500,000 athletes — have tried to avoid being part of the fight over transgender rights while not moving off the mission to be inclusive. During his time as Massachusetts governor, Baker signed a bill referred to as the transgender bill of rights into law in 2016.
Bock had served as a public member of the COI, which is mostly comprised of college sports administrators and university leaders, since 2016. He said in his letter to Baker he was stepping down with a year and half left in his third term.