St. Olaf College is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community. In that regard, the College prohibits all forms of discrimination and harassment based upon an individual’s gender, gender identity, and gender expression. The following policy put forth by Recreation, Exercise Science, Athletics (RESA) and the Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion aims to provide an equal opportunity for all students to participate in collegiate athletic and recreation activities.
This document includes policy specific to NCAA athletes, St. Olaf club sports, intramural sports, Exercise Science Activity Courses (ESAC), and other recreation activities in Skoglund and Tostrud facilities.
Policies for Participation in Intercollegiate Athletics (NCAA Policy)
- Participation in athletic activities is a valuable part of the educational experience for all students.
- Transgender student athletes should have equal opportunity to participate in sports.
- Policies governing sports should be based on sound medical knowledge and scientific validity.
- Policies governing sports should be objective, workable, and practical; they should also be written, available, and equitably enforced.
- The legitimate privacy interests of all student athletes should be protected.
- The medical privacy of transgender students should be preserved.
- Athletic administrators, staff, families of athletes, and student athletes should have access to sound and effective educational resources and training related to the participation of transgender and gender non-conforming students in athletics.
- Policies governing the participation of transgender students in athletics should comply with St. Olaf policies, as well as state and federal laws, protecting students from discrimination.
Process for Approval to Participate in NCAA Intercollegiate Athletics
- The St. Olaf Athletics Department works in partnership with other offices on campus to foster a supportive environment for students in the process of transition. A transgender or gender non-binary student who wishes to participate in NCAA intercollegiate athletics should first contact the Athletic Director (AD).
- A student athlete who has completed, plans to initiate, or is in the process of taking hormones as part of a gender transition must submit the request to participate on a sports team in writing to the AD upon matriculation or when the decision to undergo hormonal treatment is made. The request must include a letter from the student’s medical provider documenting the following:
- the student athlete’s intention to transition or the student’s current transition status
- the prescribed hormonal treatment for the student’s gender transition
- and if relevant, the documentation of the student’s testosterone levels
- The AD (or designee) will meet with the student to review eligibility requirements and the process for approval of transgender and gender non-binary student athlete participation. The full NCAA Policy can be found here.
- If hormone treatment is involved in the student athlete’s transition, the AD (or designee) will notify the NCAA of the student’s request to participate and the NCAA will assign a facilitator to assist the AD in responding to the student’s request to participate in intercollegiate athletics.
- If the AD approves the student’s request to participate on an intercollegiate athletic team, the AD will notify the NCAA of the decision and the NCAA will confirm that the eligibility requirements have been met.
- If the student athlete is subject to a one-year waiting period, the AD (or designee) will provide guidance and support to the student if they submit a request to the NCAA for an extension of eligibility at the end of the transition period.
- In the event that an opposing team or school challenges the student athlete’s eligibility, the AD will direct the challenge to the NCAA for resolution.
- If a student athlete requests an appeal, the denied request to participate on an intercollegiate team will be reviewed within 14 business days of the decision notification by a panel consisting of the Title IX Coordinator, the Faculty Athletics Representative, the Assistant Director for Gender and Sexuality, the Athletics Senior Woman Administrator, and the Dean of Students (or their designee).
- The panel will review the denied request for participation and notify the student athlete and AD of the panel’s decision. If the panel grants approval, the AD will be responsible for informing the NCAA and the appropriate conference office of the appeal outcome.
All discussions among involved parties and required written supporting documentation will be kept confidential, unless the student makes a specific request otherwise. All information about an individual student’s gender identity and medical information, including medical provider’s information, will be maintained confidentially.
Policies for Participation in Club Sports
A transgender or gender non-binary student who wishes to compete in a club sport should consult with the Director of Intramural and Club Sports to determine eligibility requirements of the club sport. If the national governing body (NGB) does not have a specific policy regarding transgender or gender non-binary athletes, the student may participate in accordance with their gender identity. If conflicts arise over the NGB’s policy (or lack thereof) regarding transgender or gender non-binary athletes, the Director of Intramural Club Sports will provide support and advocacy on behalf of the student.
Policies for Participation in Intramural Sports, Exercise Science Activity Courses (ESAC), and Recreation Activities
All students participating in intramural sports or ESAC classes may participate in accordance with their gender identity. For ESAC courses with a specified gender (i.e. weightlifting), any student is invited to register for either of the gendered courses. Students may participate in these courses wearing activewear or comfortwear of their choice. Should concerns arise, please contact the Director of Intramural and Club Sports or the Chair of the Exercise Science Department.
All students, faculty, staff, and community members participating in recreation activities or utilizing facilities in Skoglund or Tostrud may participate in accordance with their gender identity. Should issues arise, please contact the Director of Recreation.
- Changing Areas, Toilets, Showers – All students, faculty, staff, and community members may use the locker room, shower, and toilet facilities in which they feel most comfortable based on their gender identity. Skoglund/Tostrud has a private, single use toilet and shower available for their use (located on the South end of the lower floor of Skoglund); however, this facility is not required to be used by transgender or gender non-binary individuals.
- Competition at Another School – If a transgender or gender non-binary student athlete requires a particular accommodation to ensure access to appropriate changing, showering, or bathroom facilities, school leaders, athletic directors, and coaches, in consultation with the student athlete, will notify their counterparts at other schools prior to competitions to ensure that the student has access to facilities that are comfortable and safe. This notification will maintain the student’s confidentiality. Under no circumstances will a student athlete’s identity as a transgender or gender non-binary person be disclosed without the student’s express permission.
- Hotel Rooms – Transgender student athletes generally will be assigned to share hotel rooms based on their gender identity, with a recognition that any student who needs extra privacy will be accommodated whenever possible.
- Names – In all cases, teammates, coaches and all others in the school will refer to individuals by their preferred or chosen name.
- Pronouns – Similarly, in all cases, pronoun references to transgender and gender non-binary individuals will reflect the student’s personal gender pronouns (PGPs).
All school or athletics representatives who are authorized to speak with the media will receive information about appropriate terminology, use of names and pronouns, and school and athletics conference policies regarding the participation of transgender and gender non-binary student athletes on school sports teams.
All members of the college athletic and recreation community will receive information and education about transgender and non-binary identities, institutional and conference non-discrimination policies, the use of names and pronouns, and expectations for creating a respectful team and school climate for all students, including transgender and gender non-binary students.
A report of an incident of bias may be submitted to the college through an employee or through the electronic bias incident reporting form. When a report comes directly to a staff person, the individual reporting is asked to fill out the bias incident report form. The college staff working with the student may assist in filling out the form.
The electronic reporting form is received by:
- Vice President for Student Life
- Dean of Students
- Associate Dean for Residence Life
- Director of Public Safety
- General Counsel
- Chief Diversity Officer
- Vice President for Human Resources
- Faculty Representative
This policy is maintained by the Athletic Director, the Exercise Science Department, Recreation, and the Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion. The policy will be reviewed on an annual basis.
If you have questions or concerns regarding this policy, please contact any of the following:
- Ryan Bowles, Athletic Director
- Cindy Book, Associate Professor of Exercise Science; Department Chair of Exercise Science
- Judy Tegtmeyer, Director of Recreation; Instructor in Exercise Science
- Ryan Townzen, Director of Intramural and Club Sports
- Jon Mergens, Assistant Director, Gender and Sexuality