By R.L. Bynum
Former UNC women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell spoke out Thursday in favor of a North Carolina General Assembly bill that wouldn’t allow transgender athletes to compete on high school girls teams.
The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act was filed in the state House and Senate as part of a broader Senate bill called School Athletic Transparency that places restrictions on transgender athletes. The latter bill would dictate that sports teams be designated as either “males, men or boys,” “females, women or girls” or “coed or mixed.”
“The purpose of Title IX was to make sports fair and equal,” Hatchell said. “Females having to compete against transgenders is not fair and equal. Is there a place for transgenders in sports? Yes, there is. But it’s a separate category.”
Hatchell, shown in the tweet above with District 36 Sen. Eddie Settle (R-Wilkes County), commented Thursday morning at a Republican press conference backing the legislation.
“I support transgender athletes, their right to gender identity as they see fit,” Hatchell said. “However, competitive sport is one of the few places in our society where sex differences matter. Those differences — men’s greater strength, size, speed and muscle mass, men’s larger hearts, lungs, hands, feet and skulls, women’s greater body fat, women’s and men’s differences, distribution of their body fat and lean muscle mass, and much, much more — results in performance advantages for men in almost every sport.”
Current North Carolina High School Athletic Association rules allow transgender athletes to play on sports teams based on their gender identification. NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker told highschoolot.com that “right around 15” transgender athletes are competing in high school sports in the state.
“Speaking as a coach, it’s not a level playing field,” Hatchell said.
Former Chapel Hill High School girls basketball and volleyball coach Sherry Norris, who retired in 2014 after 34 years, also spoke in favor of the bill.
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a West Virginia case that transgender athletes can compete on girls teams in that state.
Hatchell, 71, resigned in April 2019 after a 33-year Hall of Fame coaching career at Carolina in which the Tar Heels went 751–325 and won the 1994 NCAA title, in addition to four ACC regular-season championships and eight ACC Tournament championships. She was the national coach of the year in 1994 and 2006 and the ACC coach of the year in 1997, 2006 and 2008.
Hatchell was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
Photo via @uncwbb