USAU Selected Indiana to Host 2023 D-III College Champs Before Backing Out Due to Anti-Transgender Laws


The USAU EDI committee determined that Indiana should not host one of its major tournaments.

USA Ultimate initially planned to host the 2023 Division III College Championships in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but changed course after the organization’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee determined that USAU should not host it there due to Indiana laws targeting transgender people, Ultiworld has learned.

After a months-long bid process, USAU told Fort Wayne Ultimate (FWU) in early November that their proposal had been selected, said FWU President Jeff Ratajczak. He signed the attached letter of intent and waited for the official announcement from USAU. But in early December, he got word that there may be a problem: the USAU EDI committee was unsure about hosting a big national event in Indiana, due to the state’s new laws barring transgender women and girls from competing on public schools’ women’s sports teams.

FWU, the city of Fort Wayne, the tourist bureau, and other area entities supporting the bid sent in letters to USAU stating their commitment to inclusion, but on December 16th, USAU staff emailed Ratajczak with the news that USAU would not be moving forward with Fort Wayne. “We put together a bid that was perfect until it wasn’t all of a sudden,” said Ratajczak.

“As the decision was being considered to award the bid to Fort Wayne, we performed a final audit of anti-trans laws in Indiana and discovered that one was in effect, which led to us evaluating alternatives in the general area,” said USAU Director of Communications Andy lee. “This included Columbus, which had previously bid on – and was awarded – the D-III championships in 2020 before the pandemic cancelled it.”

The TD of the 2023 D-III College Championships, Rodger Oakes, said that USAU reached out to him in early December asking if he would run the event in Columbus. They had previously discussed it over the summer when it looked like Cincinnati was going to be the host for the D-I Championships. He agreed.

Lee said that USAU does not have a policy in place that strictly bars the organization from hosting its biggest national events in states with anti-trans laws. “It is one of many internal criteria we consider during our process of evaluating bids for national championship events,” he said. “As a [national governing body], we look at laws specific to the sphere in which we operate – i.e. sports inclusion/participation. Because these laws are inconsistent with our Gender Inclusion Policy, they can have a negative impact on the bid.” The USAU email to Ratajczak said that the organization won’t be hosting any of its six national championship events in states with anti-trans laws.

Anti-transgender laws, often targeting trans girls on school-based teams, have proliferated this year around the country. 19 states have passed laws limiting sports participation for trans girls in girls divisions.

There is precedent for USAU’s policy: in 2016, the NCAA pulled seven championship games out of North Carolina due to the state passing a “bathroom bill” law that required people to use bathrooms according to their gender at birth. The USAU College Championships were held in North Carolina that year. Amidst some calls for the governing body to change the location of the tournaments, USAU announced a number of efforts to protest the laws, including the use of rainbow-printed discs at the events. The controversial law fully lapsed in 2020.

The NCAA said last year that it will only host championship events in places that are “free of discrimination” in a show of support for transgender athletes, but many of its 2023 championships are set to be held in states that have passed anti-trans laws.

Ratajczak understands the challenge USAU faces — “It’s a tough spot for an organization like that to make a decision, especially when they’re in the social justice arena,” he said — but is frustrated by the decision.

“The thing that was super irritating is that they took it away from us to give it to Ohio, which has two bills that are likely going to pass the first quarter of next year that are anti-trans,” he said.

The Ohio house and senate have both already passed bills requiring public school students to play in the division of their gender at birth, but they failed during reconciliation votes earlier this month. The Ohio senate leader has already committed to reintroducing the bill in early 2023. Ohio republican governor Mike DeWine has publicly opposed the bills but has not committed to vetoing a measure that gets passed. Both Indiana and Utah’s governors vetoed similar legislation but had their vetoes overridden by the legislature.

Lee said that if Ohio were to pass anti-trans laws next year that USAU would not relocate the College Championships. “Instead, we will work to find other impactful ways to support the trans community locally during the event,” he said.

USAU told Ratajczak that Fort Wayne should continue bidding on regional events. The organization hosted Great Lakes College Regionals in 2022.

Earlier this week, the 2023 D-III College Championships were publicly announced to be held in Columbus, OH, from May 20-22.


Continue ReadingUSAU Selected Indiana to Host 2023 D-III College Champs Before Backing Out Due to Anti-Transgender Laws

Indiana AG Todd Rokita files appeal on injunction of transgender sports ban law

Caroline Beck – Indianapolis Star

TAG: House Bill 1024

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita announced on Thursday that he filed an appeal of a district court’s preliminary injunction that blocked enforcement of Indiana’s transgender sports ban.

Rokita filed his appeal on Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit saying that House Bill 1041 does not violate Title IX protections, which he says only mentions protections of “sex” and not “gender identity.”

“And in prohibiting ‘discrimination’ and exclusion from activities on the ‘basis of sex,’ Congress did not require schools to blind themselves to sex-based differences that affect athletic performance and safety,” reads the appeal.

U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Indiana Jane Magnus-Stinson issued the preliminary injunction in July which allowed a 10-year-old girl at the heart of the legal challenge against a state ban targeting transgender athletes to rejoin her softball team.

The lawsuit claimed a new Indiana law banning transgender students from participating in all-female school sports amounts to discrimination under federal law guaranteeing equal access to education and educational programs. The law took effect July 1.

Rokita said in an emailed statement that allowing transgender athletes to compete alongside cis-gender female student-athletes is an “assault on girls’ equality of opportunity and even their physical safety.”

“Males possess certain physiological advantages that make them faster and stronger,” Rokita said. “And it’s unconscionable to ignore these scientific realities. The Left must stop sacrificing women’s well-being on the altar of transgender woke-ism.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana is who filed the original lawsuit against the Indianapolis Public School district which is where the 10-year-old’s softball team is located.

The ACLU of Indiana declined IndyStar’s request for comment on Thursday.

The plaintiff, who filed the lawsuit under her initials A.M., began identifying as a girl before she was four years old, according to Magnus-Stinson’s order. Her birth-assigned sex was male, Magnus-Stinson wrote, but in 2021 a state court changed the gender marker on her birth certificate to female.

The judge’s order only applies to the case of the 10-year-old.

The law was passed by both chambers in the state legislature earlier this year. Rep. Michelle Davis, R-Whiteland, wrote the bill that became law. On the Statehouse floor, she said it was written to “maintain fair competition in girls’ sports now and in the future.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed the bill in March. He said it attempted to target a problem that doesn’t exist in Indiana.

“It implies that the goals of consistency and fairness in competitive female sports are not currently being met,” Holcomb wrote in a letter explaining his veto. “After thorough review, I find no evidence to support either claim even if I support the overall goal.”

Both the state House and Senate overrode Holcomb’s veto in May, clearing the way for the law to take effect in July.

Advocates for the LGBTQ community have criticized the law, saying it is discriminatory and could further marginalize an already-vulnerable population of children who want to fit in and play sports with their friends.

IndyStar reporter Johnny Magdaleno contributed to this reporting.


Continue ReadingIndiana AG Todd Rokita files appeal on injunction of transgender sports ban law

House Bill 1041 – Indiana General Assembly 2022 Session

House Bill 1041 – Indiana General Assembly 2022 Session

01/04/2022 Authored by Representative Michelle Davis

Co-Authored by Rep. Chris Jeter, Rep. Joanna King, Rep. Robert Heaton.
Sponsored by Sen. Stacey Donato, Sen. Jean Leising, Sen. Jack Sandlin, Sen. Dennis Kruse, Sen. Gary Byrne, Sen. Blake Doriot, Sen. Michael Young.

Participation in school sports. Requires, for purposes of interscholastic athletic events, school corporations, public schools, nonpublic schools, and certain athletic associations to expressly designate an athletic team or sport as one of the following: (1) A male, men’s, or boys’ team or sport. (2) A female, women’s, or girls’ team or sport. (3) A coeducational or mixed team or sport. Prohibits a male, based on the student’s biological sex at birth in accordance with the student’s genetics and reproductive biology, from participating on an athletic team or sport designated as being a female, women’s, or girls’ athletic team or sport. Requires school corporations, public schools, certain nonpublic schools, and certain athletic associations to: (1) establish and maintain grievance procedures; or (2) maintain grievance or protest procedures established before July 1, 2022; for a violation of these provisions. Establishes a civil action for a violation of these provisions. Provides that school corporations, public schools, certain nonpublic schools, and certain athletic associations are not subject to liability in a civil, administrative, disciplinary, or criminal action for acting in compliance with these provisions.

Actions for House Bill 1041

H01/04/2022 Authored by Representative Davis
H01/04/2022 Coauthored by Representatives Jeter, King, Heaton
H01/04/2022 First reading: referred to Committee on Education
H01/24/2022 Committee report: amend do pass, adopted
H01/26/2022 Second reading: amended, ordered engrossed
H01/26/2022 Amendment #1 (Davis) prevailed; voice vote
H01/26/2022 Amendment #3 (DeLaney) motion withdrawn
H01/27/2022 Third reading: passed; Roll Call 135: yeas 66, nays 30
H01/27/2022 Senate sponsor: Senator Donato
H01/28/2022 Referred to the Senate
S02/07/2022 First reading: referred to Committee on Education and Career Development
S02/14/2022 Senator Leising added as second sponsor
S02/14/2022 Senator Sandlin added as third sponsor
S02/14/2022 Senator Kruse added as cosponsor
S02/17/2022 Committee report: do pass, adopted
S02/21/2022 Senator Byrne added as cosponsor
S02/22/2022 Second reading: ordered engrossed
S02/22/2022 Amendment #3 (Ford J.D.) failed; Roll Call 223: yeas 13, nays 35
S02/22/2022 Amendment #1 (Ford J.D.) failed; Roll Call 224: yeas 11, nays 37
S02/22/2022 Amendment #2 (Ford J.D.) failed; Roll Call 225: yeas 16, nays 33
S02/24/2022 Senator Doriot added as cosponsor
S02/28/2022 Senator Young M added as cosponsor
S03/01/2022 Third reading: passed; Roll Call 278: yeas 32, nays 18
S03/02/2022 Returned to the House without amendments
H03/04/2022 Signed by the Speaker
S03/07/2022 Signed by the President Pro Tempore
S03/15/2022 Signed by the President of the Senate
H03/21/2022 Vetoed by the Governor
H05/24/2022 Veto overridden by the House; Roll Call 402: yeas 67, nays 28
S05/24/2022 Veto overridden by the Senate; Roll Call 382: yeas 32, nays 15
H05/27/2022 Public Law 177

Continue ReadingHouse Bill 1041 – Indiana General Assembly 2022 Session