Barton Community College’s Board of Trustees will soon adopt a policy that bans males, men or boys from playing sports designated only for females, women or girls. The policy has been mandated by the Kansas Legislature.
The Legislature passed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act earlier this year. It was vetoed by Governor Laura Kelly but the Legislature overrode that veto in April.
The legislation now bars transgender women from taking part in girls’ or women’s sports at the Kindergarten through College level.
The policy will come from the statute wording, vetted by the Kansas Board of Regents. A draft was introduced Tuesday at the Board of Trustees’ monthly study session. It reads:
“Interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural or club athletic teams or sports that are sponsored by Barton County Community College shall be expressly designated as one of the following based on biological sex:
“(1) Males, men or boys;
“(2) females, women or girls; or
“(3) coed or mixed.
“Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex.
“Colleges shall use information collected when individuals elect to participate on a team or in a sport to determine which gender team is appropriate for respective students. Should a dispute arise, colleges shall refer to the original birth or adoption certificate completed at or near the time of birth. If the original birth or adoption certificate is not available, documentation provided by a licensed physician indicating biological sex at birth may be utilized. If biological sex at birth is unable to be determined by the above means, the student shall be eligible to participate in male, men’s, boys, coed, or mixed athletic activities only.”
Trustees are expected to vote on officially adopting this policy in the near future, possibly as early as the Sept. 26 meeting. Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said the new legislation puts the onus on the college to adopt it.
“We need to have a policy,” he told the trustees. “This (draft) has been shared with the college attorney for review.”
Opponents of the new law said it discriminates against transgender girls. Board Chairman Mike Johnson said the topic is moot now that it is state law.
“We’re compelled,” he said. “We’re being required by the Kansas Legislature to sign off on this.”
Barton Athletic Director Trevor Rolfs agreed.
“This language comes directly from the Legislature,” he said.
Johnson asked Rolfs if this action could result in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) pulling tournaments out of the state.
He said the league has been known to do so if it doesn’t agree with a school’s policy, but he didn’t know if there would be an issue with this policy.
Rolfs later told the Great Bend Tribune that, to his knowledge, no transgender females have ever gone out for women’s sports at Barton.
Federal rules may overshadow state law in the future, Barton Vice President of Student Services Angie Maddy noted. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.
In July 2022, the U.S. Department of Education released proposed amendments to the Title IX regulations, including changes that would enhance protections for LGBTQ+ students. Regulations were supposed to have been updated in May but now final revisions are expected in October.
“Federal legislation is really going to trump everything,” Maddy said. “There is a lot of thought that this will eventually end with the Supreme Court.”