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Women rally for fairness in sports at NCAA Convention

ADF clients available for media interviews following Thursday event
Female athlete staring at stairs

WHO: Sophia Lorey, former college athlete, and Christy Mitchell, mother of athlete Chelsea Mitchell, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys in Moms for Liberty-Yolo County v. Lopez and Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools, respectively

WHAT: Speaking at the “Our Bodies, Our Sports: We Won’t Back Down” Rally at the NCAA Convention to support equal athletic opportunity for women

WHEN: Immediately following the rally, which begins at 11 a.m. MST, Thursday, Jan. 11

WHERE: Press event and rally at the Marvin A. Andrews Plaza & Activity, outside of the NCAA Convention in Phoenix. To schedule a media interview, contact ADF Deputy Director of Media Relations AnnMarie Pariseau at (480) 417-3975.

PHOENIX – Former college athlete Sophia Lorey and Christy Mitchell, mother of Chelsea Mitchell, an all-American long-jumper who won numerous state championships in sprinting and jumping events, will be available for media interviews Thursday after speaking at a rally outside the NCAA’s annual convention. The rally, titled “We Won’t Back Down,” urges the organization, as the governing body for collegiate sports, to stop discriminating against female athletes.

The NCAA allows males who identify as females to compete on women’s sports teams as long as their levels of testosterone meet certain sport-specific requirements, even though studies show that no amount of testosterone suppression will eliminate the physical advantage of males.

“Female athletes have fought long and hard for equal opportunities, and they deserve to compete on a level playing field. Men and women are different, and those real physical differences make it unfair to force women and girls to compete against bigger, faster, and stronger males,” said ADF Legal Counsel Rachel Rouleau. “For more than 50 years, Title IX has protected female athletes so that they can compete and win. But the NCAA’s regressive policies ignore biological reality and harm women. We are calling on the NCAA to stop discriminating against female athletes and establish policies to protect women’s sports.”

“The policies of the NCAA and President Charlie Baker are taking away the chance for girls who have trained their whole lives to be college athletes as they lose their spots, scholarships, and safety to men,” Lorey said. “As an athlete, there is nothing I hate more than losing. We are in this fight to win it. NCAA must fix its policy and stop crushing girls’ dreams. We won’t back down; women have come too far to be erased, we will win this fight and truth will prevail.”

“I’m the mother of three daughters, one of whom is a current NCAA Division I Track and Field athlete. I never imagined they would one day have to compete against boys,” added Christy Mitchell. “It definitely was not on my radar of things I had to worry about. That all changed in 2017 when my middle daughter Chelsea had to compete against a male in the 100-meter dash at the Connecticut State Open Championship.”

“To the leadership at the NCAA—please stop turning a deaf ear to the concerns of women who are insisting on fair and safe competition. Please stop turning a blind eye to the mountains of scientific evidence confirming that male advantage can never be erased or undone. It is time to show leadership, apologize for the harm that’s been done by these ill-advised policies and commit to ensuring women will have a protected female category in collegiate sports going forward,” Christy Mitchell continued.

In addition to Lorey, other current and veteran female athletes who will be speaking at the rally include Riley Gaines, Paula Scanlan, Kaylee Alons, Macy Petty, and others.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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Rachel Rouleau serves as legal counsel for the Center for Conscience Initiatives with Alliance Defending Freedom.