NC State swimmer among 16 female athletes suing NCAA over Title IX

By Donna King

Raleigh, NC – Swimmer Kylee Alons from North Carolina State University is among sixteen female athletes to file a class action lawsuit against the NCAA for “discriminatory treatment and severe emotional distress” stemming from the decision to allow biological males to compete in sports established for female athletes, and to give them access to female locker rooms.

NC State swimmer Kylee Alons, left, with swimmer Riley Gaines, center. (Source: Alon’s X account)

The lawsuit was Filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and accuses the NCAA of instituting “a radical anti-woman agenda on college sports, reinterpreting Title IX to define women as a testosterone level.”

It’s been three months since I shared my story of being forced to share and locker room & compete against a male athlete.

I’ll be the first to admit that speaking up about this issue is hard, but it is essential to protect women’s privacy, safety, and integrity of competition. pic.twitter.com/1ySdanvJn
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Kylee Alons (@kyleealons) September 16, 2023

The suit outlines not just the negative impact of females being forced to compete against males at the highest levels of their sports, but also the trauma of being exposed to males, or being forced to expose themselves against their will in locker room and spaces where there should be a reasonable expectation of privacy.

It calls for the female athletes to be compensated with punitive damages and attorneys’ fees, and for the NCAA to revoke any award or record from any male who has competed as a female.

“Each Plaintiff’s story demonstrates the harm being done to women that results from the NCAA’s radical departure from Title IX’s original meaning,” reads the lawsuit. “The NCAA has long acted as if it were the sole arbiter of Title IX’s meaning in college sports. It issues and enforces eligibility rules in collegiate sport which undermine the foundational principle of equal treatment for women upon which Title IX rests, providing an excuse for Title IX covered institutions to violate federal law. The NCAA and its members are not above the law and must comply with it.”

The lawsuit centers around the NCAA championship women’s swimming tournament in 2022.

“For most Plaintiffs, the realization that the NCAA was not dedicated to equal opportunity for women came during the 2021-22 women’s swimming season,” it continues.

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The plaintiffs include Riley Gaines, an outspoke swimmer from the University of Kentucky, Alons, and other female swimmers, two of which are unnamed, an unnamed volleyball player, and an unnamed track athlete.

Alons is an All-American swimmer who competed at North Carolina State University and in the 2022 NCAA Championships held at the McCauley Aquatics Center at Georgia Tech, where Lia Thomas, a 6’4″ transgender biological male swimmer was allowed to compete and had access to the women’s locker room without the female athletes being notified.

“On one of the early days of the NCAA Championship Kylee Alons saw Thomas in the locker room; that was the first moment that Kylee understood that Thomas had access to the women’s locker room,” the suit reads.

Alons said that the tension in the locker room denied the female athletes the full experience of championship competition for which they had worked so hard for years.

“Kylee Alons said, in place of that camaraderie was a pervasive sense of: ‘Why can’t we get the respect that male competitors would get?’” the suit reads. “…Through opportunities received and obstacles overcome in sport, Plaintiffs became leaders and strong women, confirming the vision of the framers of Title IX, who anticipated that given an equal opportunity to succeed through sex-separated sport, women would grow, and society would benefit, from the priceless advantages that women’s sport offers.”

In 2023 Gaines spoke to the North Carolina General Assembly in support of the Fairness in Women’s Sports bill. It was passed by lawmakers but Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bill. His veto was overridden by the state legislature in August 2023.