Gov. Ron DeSantis makes his own swimming rules
Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared war against the NCAA after a Florida swimmer lost to a transgender woman in last week's championships.
Driving the news: DeSantis signed a proclamation Tuesday declaring Emma Weyant, a University of Virginia swimmer and Olympian from Sarasota, the "rightful winner" of the NCAA 500-yard women's freestyle swimming championship event.
- She lost by 1.75 seconds last week to University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, who became the first transgender athlete in any sport to win a NCAA Division I championship.
Background: Transgender women have been allowed to compete in women's categories in the Olympics since 2003 and the NCAA since 2010, per Politico.
- While Thomas' success in swimming has been controversial, with athletes like Michael Phelps questioning whether she should compete, she's had overwhelming support from others, like the more than 300 current and former NCAA, Team USA and international swimmers and divers who signed an open letter to the NCAA last month supporting her.
Flashback: DeSantis signed legislation last year banning transgender athletes from women's sports at the high school and college levels.
- DeSantis also said Tuesday that he will sign the "Parental Rights in Education" bill — also known as "Don't Say Gay" — "relatively soon."
What they're saying: "The NCAA is basically taking efforts to destroy women's athletics. They're trying to undermine the integrity of the competition, and they're crowning somebody else the women's champion. We think that's wrong," DeSantis said at a press conference in Pasco County Tuesday.
- Weyant's family and the NCAA did not respond to Axios' requests for comment.
Equality Florida sent Axios a statement condemning the proclamation.
- "Right now, Floridians are facing soaring housing costs, skyrocketing property insurance rates, crumbling infrastructure, and a whole host of other urgent crises," the LGBTQ advocacy group wrote.
- "But where is Governor DeSantis? Using all of his energy to fuel culture war divisiveness and issue proclamations that address none of the problems his constituents are facing."
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