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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The NCAA plans to hold softball regionals on the campuses of Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee this month.

Why it matters: LGBTQ advocacy groups argue the NCAA is violating its own policies to allow transgender participation in sports, since all three states have passed bills banning trans students from teams that match their gender identity.

Where it stands: Seven states so far this year have passed bills into law — or issued executive orders, as South Dakota did — to restrict trans students' participation in sports, per ACLU data. Most of the laws are focused on trans girls.

  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) signed two complimentary bills on March 29 banning trans girls' participation in sports, including at the collegiate level.
    • He later told Axios that although "no one has cited an example of where trans athletes have tried to compete [in the state] ... hopefully it'll set a standard for the future that will not create any unintended consequences."
  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed legislation on March 26 to bar trans participation in sports. The ban only applies to middle and high school students.
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed the state's ban on trans' students ability to play girls sports on April 23. The ban affects public K-12 schools.

What they're saying: The NCAA said it "unequivocally" supports trans students competing in college sports on April 12 — after bills were signed in Arkansas and Tennessee. The NCAA did not respond to a request for comment.

  • The NCAA said at the time it would only hold championships in areas "free of discrimination" and the association would continue to monitor the situation.

The backlash: "The NCAA should be ashamed of themselves for violating their own policy by choosing to hold championships in states that are not healthy, safe, or free from discrimination for their athletes," Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David said in a statement.

  • "It also undermines their commitment to transgender participation in NCAA events, for which they have had an inclusive policy for years," he added. NCAA's policies allow trans women to compete in women's sports after undergoing a year of testosterone suppression treatment.
  • "We are disappointed by the NCAA’s decision to host Division 1 Softball championship games and to propose Division I Baseball championships in states with legislation banning transgender student-athletes from participation,” Athlete Ally and GLAAD said in a joint statement.

Go deeper

Sep 29, 2021 - Sports

NCAA to use "March Madness" brand for women's basketball tournament

The Stanford Cardinal celebrate the win over the Arizona Wildcats during the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament on April 4. Photo: Elsa/Getty Images

The NCAA Division I women's basketball tournament in 2022 will use the "March Madness" branding that has long been used only for the men's tournament, the NCAA announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: The announcement comes after gender inequities at the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments in 2021 sparked national outrage.

Birx: Trump White House could have reduced COVID deaths by 30 to 40%

Deborah Birx, then-coronavirus response coordinator, speaks during a news conference in the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Nov. 19, 2020. Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Deborah Birx, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator under former President Trump, told a House subcommittee earlier this month that the Trump administration could have prevented tens of thousands of deaths during the early stages of the pandemic.

Driving the news: "I believe if we had fully implemented the mask mandates, the reduction in indoor dining ... and we had increased testing, that we probably could have decreased fatalities into the 30% less to 40% less range," Birx said in a closed-door testimony to the Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, according to excerpts provided by the panel.

Study: Fear of debt keeps Latinos out of college

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Fear of never being able to pay off school loans is keeping many young Latinos in the U.S. from going to college or completing a degree, according to a report published in September.

State of play: Latinos tend to have more difficulty repaying school debt than white student borrowers, according to Federal Reserve data, at the same time that they need more loans in order to afford tuition.