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"It's not an equal protection." Swimmer Speaks Out About NCAA's Transgender Policy (With Carter Satterfield)

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
The Truth Network Radio
May 13, 2024 8:37 am

"It's not an equal protection." Swimmer Speaks Out About NCAA's Transgender Policy (With Carter Satterfield)

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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May 13, 2024 8:37 am

This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs welcomes Carter Satterfield, a swimmer at Roanoke College, to discuss her experience swimming with a transgender-identifying male and how 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're joined by Carter Satterfield, one of the 16 women suing the NCAA. Carter began her swimming career at Green Hope High School in Cary, North Carolina, and is now a senior at the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Carter is now a sophomore NCAA collegiate swimmer at Roanoke College, where she and her teammates stood fast in their opposition to a male swimmer's attempts to join the women's swim team last year.

Carter Satterfield, welcome to Family Policy Matters. Thank you for having me. We know you're courageous, but beyond that, tell us why you got into swimming on a competitive level and a little bit about your goals and dreams regarding that. My dad swam in college for NC State and I was taught to swim around three very early and fell in love with it and continued to swim for a majority of my life and eventually came here to Roanoke, met everybody and loved it so much.

So that is how I ended up here. And I hope to continue my swimming career for the next two years here and hopefully go to NCAAs. So what happened at your school, Roanoke College, that brought you to a place where you all were forced to take a stand and ultimately now sue the NCAA? Well, we had a member of the men's swim team who was swimming his freshman year on the men's swim team take a year off of swimming to transition.

And then this year, his junior year, my sophomore year decided that he was going to try to join the women's team and swim as a woman on our swim team. Okay. And what was your reaction to that? We really didn't get a reaction. We kind of were just told it was happening. And my coach did the best he could, but our administration was put in a tough spot because they were following the NCAA rules. But we very clearly saw the unfairness from the very beginning when he joined our practices and was breaking our women's records in practices.

Wow. Tell us what you did next then. You guys were swimming with him in practice.

And how did that even go? Is it awkward? The athlete wasn't a very social person to begin with, so it was very awkward and very uncomfortable. Luckily, our coach did protect our locker rooms, which I know a lot of people don't get, but we did have that with our coach, which we very much appreciated.

But it was still very uncomfortable to see the swimmer get beat by the swimmer every single day. And we kind of talked about it and we all agreed that we already saw how unfair and how insane this was to allow this to happen. And we ended up reaching out to Riley Gaines and we got the support of her and Icons Women and they helped us stand up and they helped us realize what we needed to do, which was basically either refuse to swim or just stand up and talk about it and make sure that the public knows. What did you guys decide to do then ultimately? Well, we all met together and we had a conversation about how far we were willing to take this.

Were we willing to possibly give up swimming this year in order to prevent this from happening? And we all agreed that we were. And then we spoke out. We had a conference in October to try to gain support for helping protect women's sports and try to force the NCAA to create a policy that actually protects fair and safe competition for women. And that was our first attempt. And we're still trying.

Right. Did you talk to the NCAA? Was anybody talking to you during this time?

No. The only person who spoke to us were our coaches who spoke to administration. We never talked to our administration directly and we did not get anything from the NCAA. But I know a lot of people reached out. So what kind of response have you been getting?

From this school, it is kind of a small Division three liberal arts school, not overwhelmingly positive from the student side. A lot of athletes do agree with us and did support us. And actually, we I think all of us have had at least a few teachers reach out and say that we're very courageous and brave for doing this and speaking out against what is very clearly wrong. But otherwise, publicly, it's been overwhelmingly positive.

I know my parents and my family members have received a lot and been told even just in conversations how insane it is that we have to speak up, but that we're doing the right thing by doing so. Tell me what you think about this in light of Title nine. I mean, is it odd to you that these things exist together? It is. The NCAA's transgender policy violates Title nine. Title nine was created to protect safe, fair competition for women. And it's very clearly not happening. Men are allowed in our locker rooms and they're allowed to compete against us. They're allowed to erase history by taking our records.

And it's not fair or safe and it's not OK. Talk about the cost that you and your fellow teammates might incur because of this young man who's on your team. So at D1 and D2 schools, scholarships are at risk. For my school, we're Division three, so they do not offer athletic scholarships. But our record board was in danger, erasing all the records that have happened since the opening of the school. Almost all of this swimmer's best times would be our record board. His name would be our entire record board.

And it would also probably allow him to go to NCAA's to qualify for our school and then take spots away from women there and take records away from women there. And the emotional cost was for us more when he was on the team swimming with us and we had to deal with him every day. Kind of just seeing someone not put in an insane amount of effort and break our records in practice after not really training or training on and off for a year by himself. He came in and automatically took our records. It was distressful. It was a lot. We also were told that this athlete struggled with mental health and we were told way too many details about that and kind of carried the burden of someone else's mental health, which is not something that should have to happen.

And seeing him every day compete with us, beat us, it was demotivating and it was sad, honestly. Do you see any circumstance that a male should be allowed to compete on a women's team? There are some policies that are more stringent, let's say, where they have to have been taking certain hormones for, you know, an extended period of time.

And they had to start them by a certain age. Do you think that the NCAA's policy is especially lax or do you just think that there's no room for men at all in women's sports? There is not room for men in women's sports.

Once a boy goes through puberty and is a man, they retain an advantage over women. And there are several trans athletes who have spoken out, including people like Caitlyn Jenner, who they see it. They know the difference.

And a lot of people are agreeing with us because the difference is very obvious and very clear in so many different examples that have happened, including Riley Gaines at NCAA's two years ago. So where do your teammates in you get the courage to stand up? Why are you all not cowed by the opposition, which a lot of people are, you know, they're afraid to take on this issue?

It is very scary. Honestly, at the beginning, I think we got the courage from each other. We have an amazing women's team here and kind of talking with them and agreeing on this was very important for us. And once we did, we got the courage from each other to stand up and stand together.

I don't think I could have done it without my team. And we also have the support of people like Riley Gaines and Icons Women's has been incredibly helpful. They set up our press conference. I went and spoke in Georgia a few weeks ago at a conference of theirs, and they have supported us and kind of helped us along because it is a complicated issue and it has a lot of implications when you speak out. Do you all understand the implications? Have you always understood the implications? Did you kind of take a stand and then realize, you know, that this could affect hundreds and hundreds of athletes across the state and even the nation based on how your lawsuit turns out?

Well, that's the point. We are hoping that it does impact all of the women and girls who are currently unprotected or currently unsafe. We knew pretty much from the beginning. We didn't know that it would go insane to the point of a lawsuit. We just knew that we need to protect our own women's team and our own records at our very small D3 school. It was kind of crazy that this issue has happened to us. But we decided that we need to protect a lot of girls who this is happening to who aren't protected even by a coach. And they have a man in their locker room and we all want to protect the future generations of girls, our own daughters, our sisters.

And this is the way to do it. OK, well, tell us about this lawsuit. So what is it asking for and what is it going to take for you guys going forward? We are asking the NCAA to change its policy. The current transgender policy violates Title nine. It does not ensure fair, safe competition for women, and it's not an equal protection of men and women. And we are trying to get them to change their policy in order to protect girls and women in all levels of sport at all ages. And where is that lawsuit at this point? I believe we are currently waiting on a response from the NCAA. OK, so there's a possibility that it won't ever go to trial or go to court before a judge, but maybe that you guys will be able to find a settlement. Is that what you're hoping?

We will have to see. We are just hoping for the change in policy. What would you say to other female athletes that are watching you and maybe others that are in this similar situation? I would say speak out and that a lot more people will support you than you think. We have had so many thoughtful and kind messages from people who say we are so brave and who people who know that this is a common sense argument and that this is so obvious and should never have had to happen, but that we are brave and that they look up to us for standing up and we're just college athletes. All we did was share our story and share our voice and stand up for what we know is wrong. So you say we're just college athletes, but of course that minimizes it, doesn't it? Because especially swimmers, I think, and some of the other sports, you guys work so hard. Could you give us a glimpse into that? I mean, this is not like some casual little hobby that you guys do. I mean, this is serious stuff. So just walk us through what your workouts are like, what your days are like and competitions.

Just give us a glimpse into that. Well, in the peak of our season, my day looks like waking up at probably four forty five to get in the pool at five fifteen and either do an hour and a half swim or a swim and then a lift. And then I go to classes, I go to more classes and then I come back to another practice. So we do nine practices a week and then we also have our full class schedule on top of that.

It is a lot. It takes a lot of time management and a lot of work, but you can kind of find support in the people on your team with you, help you study, things like that. And it's a love of the sport. It is insanely hard, but you do it because you love it and because you want that team and that family that it provides.

I was on a collegiate sports team and not on scholarship. And so I do understand that you do it for the love, don't you? I mean, there's nothing else in it for you, really, except the love of the sport.

Yes, the love of the sport and the opportunity to have records to leave your name on the school when you leave and leave a legacy, because at D3 it is very much for a love of the sport, a love of the people. So what do you want to do with yourself? I mean, is this inspiring you to take your potential after college plans in a different direction or what's what does the future hold for Carter?

Honestly, I don't know. I'm currently pursuing a double major in business administration and marketing here at Roanoke. And I don't know really where that is going to take me, but I can see how getting into an issue like this and continuing to advocate for it is very important and could be an option for me.

OK, well, we're just about out of time before we go. Carter, where can our listeners go to follow the lawsuit? Well, WWW dot take on the NCAA dot com is a great place to follow the lawsuit and Icons Women's also covers it regularly. Did you say Icons Women?

Yes. Carter Satterfield, thank you so much for being with us today on Family Policy Matters. 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 / 2024-05-13 10:24:23 / 2024-05-13 10:29:58 / 6

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