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NC State Swimmer Joins Lawsuit Against the NCAA (With Kylee Alons)

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
The Truth Network Radio
May 6, 2024 12:38 pm

NC State Swimmer Joins Lawsuit Against the NCAA (With Kylee Alons)

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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May 6, 2024 12:38 pm

This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs welcomes Kylee Alons, a former swimmer at NC State University, to discuss Kylee’s experience swimming against Lia Thomas and why that prompted her to join the lawsuit against the NCAA. 

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MUSIC Thanks for joining us this week for Family Policy Matters. Sixteen former and current female college athletes are suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, over their regulations allowing male athletes to compete in women's sports. Today, we are joined by Kylie Alans, a two-time NCAA champion, 31-time All-American, and five-time ACC champion swimmer for North Carolina. She is one of the 16 female athletes who filed the class action lawsuit against the NCAA for, quote, discriminatory treatment and severe emotional distress, stemming from its decision to allow men to compete in women's college athletics, including free access to women's locker rooms.

Kylie Alans, welcome to Family Policy Matters. Hi, thank you so much for having me on. And thank you for your courage. So start off by telling us about your life as a swimmer. When did you begin that and what were your dreams regarding competitive swimming? So I've been out of competitive swimming for about a year, a little bit over a year now. And I had swum for, I had learned to swim when I was really young, probably seven or younger, and swam on various summer teams, just kind of pretty low key, honestly, until high school, which is when I decided to have a goal for the first time and make state. And I think I was a sophomore in high school and I just found that I was really good at it and just had this drive to just keep getting better. So I worked really hard my sophomore junior year and ended up getting to swim for NC State, which is an NCAA Division 1 team, one of the top programs in the nation. And I swam there for the past five years.

So I got that extra year for COVID and it was just a great ride. Yeah, I experienced a lot of success during my time there. I met all the goals that I thought that I could have achieved. You did experience a lot of success.

So congratulations on that. So tell us what happened that resulted in your joining this lawsuit against the NCAA. There was a championship meet in 2022, NCAA Division 1 2022 swimming championships for women, or so we thought, and it was a meet where we had to race and change in the same locker room as a male swimmer, Leah Thomas.

And this is something that kind of garnered national attention, though I kind of didn't realize it at the time, and it was the first time I'd ever been in an experience where I would have to race against a male swimmer as someone who was on the Penn men's swimming team the three years prior and then decided to switch over to a men's team and compete with women. Tell me about that experience. What was that like? How did that make you and your teammates feel? It was a meet unlike any meet I've ever experienced.

The environment was very hostile. I think leading up to it, there was a lot of frustration directed just at the NCAA, just wondering why would they put us in this position? Like it's so obviously unfair. Like this is literally a swimmer who in October, the October before the championships that happened in March, was going times that were so fast, way faster than women usually go in dual meets. And obviously someone who we had never even heard of before and then just is dominating the women's competition. And so I think I just felt a lot of frustration going in that mean, knowing that it was so unfair and just knowing that there were girls that were left off of the NCAA meet. Like they weren't allowed to come to the meet and didn't make the meet because Leah Thomas took their place. And it made me extremely sad. But what I didn't even think about because I was so flustered about the competition aspect and knowing that I would have to race this swimmer in one of my events, the hundred free, is I never even gave a thought to the locker room situation.

I didn't realize that we would be changing the same quarters as him. And I think that is something that had an even more lasting impact on me than the competition aspect, because it was an incredibly uncomfortable and frankly violating situation to be in. And I'm assuming you were not the only one that felt that way. I mean, we all hear about how important the locker room is and in preparation. And I remember seeing some swimmers when I was in college in their mental game kind of before they went out to swim.

So all of that was affected, you think? Yeah, I think that I had to change my preparation for my race because I was encountering this uncomfortableness and stress in the locker room. So I actually ended up changing in a storage closet that was behind my team's bleachers.

And going back to your question about the mental game. Yes, I did that because I was so stressed out in the locker room and I just didn't want I didn't want distraction for my races. I wanted to prepare for my races like I always did, getting to change in a private place to change at the most elite competition that I would go to every year. Obviously, it seems like the bare minimum.

But at that point, it was like I was thankful just to have a private place to change and quietly prepare for my race without wondering if I was going to be naked in front of the opposite sex. You're listening to Family Policy Matters, a weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina Family Policy Council. This is just one of the many ways NC Family works to educate and inform citizens about issues that impact faith and family here in North Carolina.

Our vision is to create a state and nation where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished. For more information about NC Family and how you can partner with us in pursuit of this vision, visit our website at ncfamily.org and be sure to sign up to receive our email updates, action alerts and Family North Carolina magazine. You can also follow us on social media at NC Family Policy.

That's at NC Family Policy. Remind us what happened at that meet. How successful was Lea Thomas? He was incredibly successful in the women's category, won the 500 free in the first day. That's a moment that I'll never forget that is etched in my memory, you know, just seeing him take that glory, that champion glory from Emma Wyant, the girl that got second place.

But she was actually first, but she, you know, she didn't get that celebration that she deserved. And I think that I was incredibly nervous going to the last day because I knew that that would be the time that I would have to race Lea Thomas. And it was my worst event at the time.

So I was wanting to just make it back top 16 and I knew that there is a good chance that he could beat me and that I could be 17th place and not get to score points for my team. So I just remember feeling very stressed before my races. And, you know, I think that that was the consensus overall was just, you know, we weren't able to focus on our races the way that we used to because we had this distraction and just unfair competition. Like, imagine if someone was allowed to dope or take performance enhancing drugs.

Obviously, there would be a lot of controversy and just frustration. And this is the same thing that we were dealing with, having to compete against a biological man. Let's talk a little bit about the response that you've gotten to your decision to sign on to the lawsuit, because it's been pretty amazing to see how quiet many women, even feminists, have been on this issue. It has taken a lot of courage for you all to step up, hasn't it?

Yeah, absolutely. It's really hard to talk about a topic that has this kind of conspiracy of silence that is surrounding it. But I will say that even though it seems there's a lot of fear around speaking out, there are so many people that support our decision. And I think that the more that me and other girls continue to talk about it, the easier it becomes for everyone to talk about it.

So actually what we're seeing right now is this year compared to, you know, years prior is just actually we see the tide is turning. Like there are so many women speaking out about it. And I think it really started with Riley Gaines. She was kind of the swimmer that really started the movement. And, you know, she was alone for a while and so many of us felt the same way, but we kind of still felt that fear about speaking out. But, you know, then say, hey, we see this continue to happen to girls and you just you know exactly how they're feeling in that position.

And then you just can't help but join in the fight and speak up about your experience. So why do you suppose Riley Gaines has had such a, I guess, a following, especially among fellow swimmers? Is is there a reason you think why a lot of swimmers and maybe it hasn't spread to some of the other sports quite as rapidly? Yeah, I feel like the swimming community, it's pretty small.

Like I feel like everyone kind of knows each other, at least at the collegiate level. And I think that's definitely a big part because she has been the biggest voice in this. And, you know, I used to race Riley in college, so I knew her. I swam in lanes next to her, you know, I said I gave her high fives after we would race.

So, you know, I think that that personal aspect definitely helps. She is the has become kind of the face of this whole movement because of the fact that literal Olympians at that meet racing him. And so I think that the fact that Riley, incredibly good at speaking, speaks truth and that she's also she has a platform from that meet. I think that it's given her a lot to work with and a lot to just show that just tell the whole story of the meet and give more advocacy for these smaller schools that they're having it happen at smaller schools even now. But they're not getting as much advocacy because it's not gaining the national media attention that a Division one meet would.

Well, let's explore that since you brought that up. You are not just representing yourselves. You are representing women and girls, high school, middle school, even these little girls, maybe who are starting to get into sports. And do you feel the burden of that?

Absolutely. It's kind of crazy how many stories that I've heard of ever since my experience at all levels. High school, Division three, Division two, NAIA. And it is a serious problem in women's and girls sports right now. And women deserve to be protected at every level. I don't care what the world governing body says or anything like elite athletes are not the only ones that should be protected. Every swimmer, every athlete, every girl should be protected and should have the right to not have discrimination on the basis of their sex. So I think that is what kind of encouraged me to come out because I realized that I do have a platform from being a successful athlete at the D1 level. And I wanted to use that to help women's sports and to create a future for women's sports, because right now the future of women's sports is not bright. If we continue to allow men and boys into women's sports. So tell us about this lawsuit that you have signed on to challenging those NCAA regulations in women's sports. What do you personally hope to gain and what are you all hoping will be the outcome? Our goal for this lawsuit is first and foremost for the NCAA to take responsibility for what they have allowed to happen and to change their policies moving forward.

That's really the bare minimum that we're asking for. And you can read more about our lawsuit to go to take on the NCAA dot com. Obviously, women have been harmed by their policies and we want them to, you know, pay their dues for that.

But the most important thing is just that they take responsibility and just make sports better for women moving forward. Are you surprised that it's taken this to get them to rethink this regulation? If you had told me that meet and says two years ago that I'd be part of a lawsuit, I definitely would not have believed you out of that. I am I'm very shocked that it's come to this point. But it is really cool to see that we actually have been able to file a lawsuit and we do have so many people backing us and supporting us. And we know that this is a fight worth fighting. But yes, I'm I am very surprised that the NCAA has taken this long, has just turned a blind eye towards women for this long. Like we've come so far. Fifty years ago, Title nine was put into place and that was such a step forward for women. But they're literally erasing the whole premise of Title nine by denying that women's sports deserve protection. So, yeah, it is very surprising.

We are about out of time for this week before we go. Kylie Elan's, you already mentioned, but tell us again where our listeners can go to follow this lawsuit. You can go to take on the NSA dot com. It's a coalition of women's organizations and there's a lot of information on their sites all about the plaintiffs and media and how to get involved. We you know, we just filed it a month or two ago. So, you know, there's we have a long road ahead of us, but, you know, we're very positive about this is a very groundbreaking lawsuit.

It is Kylie Elan's. Thank you so much for being with us today on family policy matters. Thank you for having me. Thank you for listening to Family Policy Matters. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave us a review. To learn more about NC family and the work we do to promote and preserve faith and family in North Carolina, visit our website at NC family dot org. That's NC family dot o r g and check us out on social media at NC family policy. Thanks. And may God bless you and your family.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-06 14:26:31 / 2024-05-06 14:32:14 / 6

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