Home / News / Kansas News / Christian college was first school to violate Kansas transgender sports law
kansas college
Aerial view of Ottawa University. Photo: Ichabod. Creative Commons. 3.0

Christian college was first school to violate Kansas transgender sports law

Ottawa University, a small Christian college, was the first school to violate a new Kansas law banning biological male athletes, who identify as transgender, from girl’s and women’s sports.

University officials said the school’s women’s volleyball team didn’t intend to violate the law when a transgender athlete was on the roster for an August match. The athlete later was removed from the roster after an inquiry by a state legislator, but officials say it was because of a separate eligibility issue discovered when checking how the trans athlete ban applied.

“One of the games in which she was on the roster was a junior varsity match with a Kansas community college opponent, which resulted in an unintentional violation of the Kansas Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” President Reggies Wenyika told the “Topeka Capital-Journal.”

The transgender athlete wasn’t allowed to participate on the team after an unrelated eligibility issue was discovered.

“OU uncovered a separate issue with the student’s eligibility, making the student ineligible for participation,” Wenyika said. “Since that time, the student has not been on the team roster. Furthermore, we have taken additional steps to educate ourselves and our athletic staff on what we are and are not permitted to do under the new law.”

The incident appears to be the first reported violation of the House Bill 2238, dubbed by supporters as the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. The law was enacted by the Republican-led Legislature along a largely party line vote over the veto of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. Under the law’s enforcement provisions, violations can turn into lawsuits filed by affected students and public schools. But the language of the law appears to only authorize lawsuits against offending public schools and other governmental entities and does not appear to authorize lawsuits against private universities.

The Ottawa University Braves’ policy on transgender student athlete participation comes from the NAIA handbook. It allows a male-to-female trans athlete who is taking medically prescribed hormone treatment as part of a gender transition to compete on a women’s team after one year of treatment. The policy applies only to postseason play.

Ottawa University is a private, Christian university affiliated with the American Baptist Churches in the USA. Its main campus is in Ottawa.

–Alan Goforth | MV

Leave a Reply