Updated at 2:43 p.m. on March 24
The Indiana High School Athletic Association on Wednesday commended Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb's veto of a bill banning transgender females from participating in girls school sports after the association previously held back from taking an explicit stance on the proposal.
IHSAA Commissioner Paul Neidig expressed reservations that the proposed legislation only addressed “a single gender and the grievance procedure." He added that the IHSAA’s longstanding gender policy already provides “the flexibility to assess competitive advantage in each unique case," although the association has not had any transgender girls finalize a request to play on a girls team.
“Protecting the integrity of girls sports is a worthy cause. That said, the specific language included in HB1041 does not adequately address all of the issues at hand,” Neidig said.
Holcomb pointed in his veto letter to the IHSAA policy and said the group had done an “admirable job.” The governor, however, said the bill approved by legislators “falls short” of providing a consistent statewide policy for what he called “fairness in K-12 sports.”
Indiana lawmakers said they plan to override the governor’s veto, which could happen as soon as May 24.
Republican sponsors of the bill said it was needed to protect the integrity of female sports and opportunities for girls to gain college athletic scholarship but pointed out no instances in the state of girls being outperformed by transgender athletes.
The Indiana law would prohibit K-12 students who were born male but who identify as female from participating in a sport or on an athletic team that is designated for women or girls. But it wouldn’t prevent students who identify as female or transgender men from playing on men’s sports teams.
This story has been corrected to reflect that Holcomb's “falls short” remark was a reference to the bill, not IHSAA policy.