MELBOURNE (Australia) (AP). A panel ruled that a transgender woman player was ineligible for the elite level of the Australian women's basketball league.
Lexi Rodgers revealed last month in a podcast she had applied to play for the Kilsyth Cobras in Australia's NBL1 South. She said she wanted to give a face to 'trans players' who were mentioned in the local debate on mainstream media and social media.
Basketball Australia released a statement on Tuesday, stating that its three-member panel of experts had determined Rodgers ineligible for this season's NBL1.
The national governing body of the sport said that it evaluated the eligibility for prospective transgender athletes on a case by case basis at both the semi-professional and professional levels.
Basketball Australia stated, "We are still on the path of education and comprehension." Lexi will give us feedback and advice based on her experience to help us develop our framework.
The balance between fairness, inclusivity and competitive nature in sport will always be difficult to achieve.
Rodgers replied by saying that she still hopes to play at an elite level in the future. 'I'm sure Basketball Australia will understand that this isn't the end of my career as an athlete, and that they must not miss any future opportunities to show their values.
Rodgers said in an Instagram message that he was saddened by the potential message sent to transgender and gender-diverse people around the world. 'I hope one day that basketball's governing bodies can emulate the acceptance and inclusion I found with my teammates on the court.'
Suzy Batkovic - a three time Olympian, and member of Basketball Australia’s expert panel - thanked Rodgers' for his cooperation in a complex process.
Batkovic stated that 'as we develop our own framework of sub-elite competitions and elite competitions, it is important to have a process for all levels and to be educated continuously so we can support players, coaches and clubs.
T rack and field has banned transgender women athletes from international competitions. The World Athletics Council has adopted the same rules that swimming did last season, banning athletes who have made the transition from male to woman and have experienced male puberty.