INDIANAPOLIS - The NCAA Board of Governors has released a statement supporting transgender college athletes while calling out states that have passed bills opposing them.
"The NCAA Board of Governors firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports," the statement read. "This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition."
The association, which oversees college athletes, said it has a "long-standing policy" that welcomes transgender athletes.
"Our approach — which requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports — embraces the evolving science on this issue," the statement continued.
The association said its policy directs it to only hold championships in places that are "safe, healthy and free of discrimination." However, the board said it will closely monitor the situation before refusing to do business with any states that have anti-transgender bills.
Athletes, coaches and advocates have called on the NCAA to act in response to state laws banning transgender athletes from competing in organized sports.
Conservative lawmakers in at least 28 states have introduced legislation to ban or limit transgender athletes from competing on teams or sports that align with their gender identity. Laws banning transgender women and girls from participating in organized sports have been signed in Idaho, Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas.
Proponents of the legislation say the rules are needed to prevent biological males from dominating women’s sports. However, NCAA rules require transgender women to take hormone-suppressing drugs for a year before competing.
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David called the wave of anti-transgender legislation "a moment of crisis."
"These bills are nothing more than a coordinated effort by anti-LGBTQ extremists, spreading fear and misinformation about transgender people in order to score cheap political points. These bills are not only spurious, they are dangerous to transgender athletes and trans youth across the nation. And we are engaging with organizations and individuals who value fairness, equity and inclusion, to speak out and take action," David said.
In 2016, the NCAA moved championships from North Carolina in response to HB2, the so-called "bathroom bill," that sought to ban transgender people from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity. The law was later partially repealed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.