Former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines called out the NCAA and current president Charlie Baker in response to his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday where he was asked specifically about the issues Gaines has raised about her experience swimming against transgender swimmer Lia Thomas in 2022.
Gaines, a 12-time NCAA All-American swimmer and five-time SEC Champion, spoke to OutKick’s Dan Dakich on Thursday about Baker appearing to distance himself from his predecessor’s policies related to transgender athletes competing in women’s sports, specifically with regard to locker rooms.
“First of all, his argument, his responses, they were entirely disingenuous,” Gaines said. “To tout about the safety and privacy of all athletes – no, we were utterly disregarded and totally violated. What they were protecting, of course, was the privacy and the safety of a man at the expense of us.”
“The policy that was in place at that national championships, because I asked, the locker rooms were unisex, meaning any man could have walked into that locker room, any coach, any official, any parent, to be totally frank, any pervert who wanted to had full access to that locker room.
She continued, “He knew that. He knew what the policy was, he just chose not to answer.”
Baker, who replaced former NCAA president Mark Emmert in March, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the future of college sports, specifically as it relates to Name, Image and Likeness (NIL).
He faced repeated questions about the participation of transgender athletes in women’s sports. Examples of Gaines’ experience in the locker room during the 2022 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships were used as a reference.
“I’m not going to defend what happened in 2022,” Baker said. “I wasn’t there. I was still governor of the commonwealth. What I will say is, we have very specific rules and standards around the safety and security of all our student athletes, and anyone who hosts one of our national championships has to accept that they know what they are and then abide by them accordingly.”
When pressed further about what measures the NCAA has taken to avoid a similar situation, Baker pointed to the new policies set by other sports governing bodies which the NCAA follows.
“As I said before, the rules around transgender athletes generally are more restrictive today than they were in ‘22. And I can state pretty clearly that no one’s going to get forced into any sort of situation that’s going to make them uncomfortable. We make that very clear in the guidance that we give to anybody who hosts one of our championships, period,” he explained.
But Gaines said Thursday that she believes that silence isn’t enough.
“He’s just as responsible, even by staying silent, even as not taking that opportunity to apologize on behalf of the NCAA. He’s just as responsible as the people who did create those guidelines.”
“It’s not necessarily a policy, it’s a lack thereof a policy. And in regards to the competition even, what the NCAA is doing now is an abomination really, in regards to the whole trans issue, because they want all hands off deck,” Gaines continued. “They don’t want to be responsible or accountable at all, which is pretty telling that they know it’s wrong. If they wholeheartedly stood by the fact that there was nothing wrong with allowing men to compete in women’s sports and there was no difference between men and women, they would have a blanket policy like they did in 2010 that was implemented all the way through 2022.”
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who had questioned Baker over the policies of the NCAA, sent out a formal letter to the NCAA requesting that the association respond to further questions on what exactly the current policy is regarding transgender athletes in women’s locker rooms.
Fox News’ Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report.