27th September 2018 marked a significant day in the history of University Sports. U SPORTS, for the first time in its 57-year history, announced an all-inclusive participation policy for all its sports. The policy, which comes in the wake of other measures like Bill C-16, is aimed at ushering in an era in which equity reigns supreme.
The policy is designed to provide flexibility to athletes in terms of competing on teams corresponding to either their gender identity or their sex assigned at birth. U SPORTS has also mandated that the policy become effective immediately for all of its 56 member institutions, which also includes University of Waterloo Warriors. “The equity committee of U SPORTS was the driving force behind the development of this policy and the U SPORTS board of directors subsequently approved it. “The members of the equity committee were driven to ensure that all students at our Canadian universities have equal opportunities of being selected to varsity teams regardless of their gender or their gender identity and expression,” said Lisen Moore, chair of the U Sports equity committee and manager of varsity sports, athletics and recreation at McGill University.
Also, the new policy is quite unique from other similar policies, implemented by other sporting organizations, in that it doesn’t require hormone treatment on the part of the athletes. The rationale behind the absence of this requirement is that according to a report from the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport hormones do not have a significant impact on the performance of athletes. David Goldstein, the Chief Operating Officer for U SPORTS, also echoed this sentiment, “What was ultimately found regarding hormone (treatment) was it wasn’t supported by any direct evidence that hormones significantly impact athletic performance,”
Additionally, under the rules of the policy, a U SPORTS is restricted to participate on sports teams of one gender during a given academic year.
With the enactment of this policy it will not be wrong to say that the trans-formation of U SPORTS is truly underway.