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About 550 college athletes across the nation signed a letter to Mark Emmert, president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, urging him and the association’s Board of Governors to publicly oppose some state lawmakers’ efforts to ban transgender women from competing with cisgender women in school sports.

“Put simply: the NCAA must speak out against bills that directly affect their student athlete population if they want to uphold their self-professed ideals of keeping college sports safe and promoting the excellence of physical and mental well being for student-athletes,” the letter said.

The letter was published by Athlete Ally, a national LGBTQ athlete advocacy organization, and is signed by athletes from 85 colleges, according to Sports Illustrated. The athletes called on the NCAA not to host its championships in states that pass bills banning transgender athletes from competition or requiring athletes to medically prove their testosterone levels naturally fall within a certain range, Sports Illustrated reported.

State lawmakers in South Dakota and Mississippi recently passed bans on transgender women competing in sports sanctioned by public institutions, Idaho enacted such a law in 2020, and 23 others are considering similar legislation, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The letter accused the NCAA of being “silent in the face of hateful legislation in states that are slated to host championships.”

In a statement to Sports Illustrated, NCAA leaders said the association “continues to closely monitor state bills that impact transgender student-athlete participation.”

“The NCAA believes diversity and inclusion improve the learning environment and it encourages its member colleges and universities to support the well-being of all student-athletes,” the statement said.