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NSAA to vote on transgender policy in August

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The Nebraska School Activities Association will consider a policy in August that would allow participation in high school sports by transgender students.

NSAA Executive Director Rhonda Blanford-Green told the Journal Star last week the association’s board of directors had approved the policy in December. However, board Chairman Bob Reznicek said Tuesday the board did not vote on it then.

“There’s been some confusion on what the status of the policy is,” said Reznicek, superintendent of schools for Boys Town in Omaha. “It was discussed by the board in December. It was not voted on in December.”

The board will consider the policy Aug. 21 during its regular meeting.

“Placing the proposal on the August board agenda as an action item will eliminate any confusion on the transparency of the association or myself to formally address procedures for transgender participation within our board procedures,” Blanford-Green said in a news release.

The policy, which originally had appeared on the NSAA’s website, had been removed as of Tuesday.

According to the original version of the policy, it would require students who want to participate in a sport with members of the gender opposite from their biological gender to prove their gender identity through the testimony of experts such as hormonal experts and psychologists.

Blanford-Green has said she took the proposal to the board.

The former University of Nebraska All-American in track and field and two-time U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier took the helm at the NSAA in July 2012.

Before returning to Nebraska, Blanford-Green served as associate commissioner of the Colorado High School Activities Association, which she helped lead to become one of the first two state athletic associations in the country to adopt policies establishing the rights of transgender student-athletes to switch teams.

Today, more than half a dozen states have policies in place to allow transgender students to choose whether to play sports with boys or girls, according to the New York Times.

Media attention on the proposed NSAA policy has raised some concern in Nebraska.

Al Riskowski, executive director of the Nebraska Family Council, said his organization worried the policy would create an unfair advantage for transgender students, especially boys who ask to play against girls. He said the council also was concerned about the difficulties schools would face trying to accommodate transgender student athletes and allowing boys and girls to share locker rooms and showers.

“Our concern is that this type of policy can create so many difficulties for the school in so many different ways," he said. "It certainly seems parents should be involved in this type of decision that affects schools and sports programs."

Reach Kevin Abourezk at 402-473-7225 or


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I'm a Journal Star night editor and father of five.

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