Ivy League Rules Lia Thomas Is Eligible To Beat Biological Females At Conference Championship

The Ivy League announced Monday evening that it will not stand in Lia Thomas' way at the upcoming conference championships where the swimmer, who swam three seasons at Penn as a biological male, is expected to smash biological females in at least two freestyle distances.

Thomas, who has the nation's fastest 200 (1:41:93) & 500 (4:34:06) freestyle times in the female category, will not face opposition from a conference over the NCAA's new transgender rules that were updated in January. In a statement to Swimming World, the conference said that it considered Thomas grandfathered in for the 2022 championships.

“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 Ivy League told Swimming World.

The Ivy League Championships, scheduled for February 16-19, will be the first time Thomas has been in a competitive race since January 22, which was a dual meet against Harvard.

Thomas' nation's-best 500 freestyle time would be the 511th fastest male 500 time in collegiate swimming. Lia's 200 freestyle time would be the 977th fastest male time in the nation.

The NCAA's new transgender rules, as adopted in January, defer policy to sport governing boards. In the case of swimming, that falls on USA Swimming, who will determine whether Thomas meets testosterone levels that require athletes to prove their "serum has been less than 5 nmol/L continuously for a period of at least 36 months before the date of application."

Christiana Holcomb, who serves as legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, doesn’t see USA Swimming’s new policy as being far-reaching enough.

“Suppressing testosterone is hardly a remedy for fairness. Multiple studies demonstrate that no amount of testosterone suppression can undo a male’s physical advantages over females,” Holcomb told OutKick in a written statement. “Men still retain their bigger hearts and lungs, denser bones, stronger muscles, and larger skeletal structures.

“Furthermore, USA Swimming’s new policy is a slap in the face to female swimmers at the non-elite levels and threatens their placement and advancement opportunities. No girl should be forced to compete against a male athlete.”

Will USA Swimming's new testosterone rule take out Thomas? It's unclear. What is clear is that under the NCAA's new transgender rule -- that kicked the can down the road to USA Swimming -- the organization included language that called for “flexibility to allow for additional eligibility if a transgender student-athlete loses eligibility based on the policy change provided they meet the newly adopted standards.”

In other words, will the NCAA do like the Ivy League and grandfather Thomas into the 2022 national championships? It's to be determined. Stay tuned.

Written by
Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America. Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league. Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.