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Legislation protecting women’s college athletics advances in Tennessee committee

A bill aimed at protecting the competitive balance of female intercollegiate sports is advancing through Tennessee House committees. House Bill 2316 prohibits male students from participating in certain intercollegiate or intramural athletic teams or sports that are designated for females.  The bill ensures public colleges and universities are not creating opportunities for undue injury to students who participate in intercollegiate activities and sports. The bill ensures biological males are not able to displace biological females in competitive events which could deny female athletes’ victories, opportunities or scholarships. The bill does not apply to sports deemed co-ed.

 “The anatomical differences of the greater male muscular strength are undeniable,” State Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge. “Consequently, it is an absurdity to expect sporting competitions involving speed, strength and endurance with males competing against females to be fair. It is (wrong) to take opportunities for scholarships away from young women.”

House Bill 2316 also creates a private cause of action for violations that deprive a student of an athletic opportunity or causes direct or indirect harm to students attending a public school or public charter school. The General Assembly passed legislation in 2021 to ensure that middle and high school students compete in athletic competitions that correspond with their sex at birth. House Bill 2316 establishes certain prohibitions for government entities, accrediting organization, and athletic associations.

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Another bill also sponsored by Ragan requires funds to be withheld from a local school district for failure to restrict student athletics participation by sex. House Bill 1895 passed Thursday in the House chamber. For information about House Bill 1895, visit here. For information about House Bill 2316 here.

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