Lia Thomas, a biological male, has failed in a bid to win the 2022 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Woman of the Year award.
Thomas, 22, from the University of Pennsylvania, back in March 2022 became the first openly transgender athlete to win a Division I national NCAA title in a women’s swimming race.
Binder and Thomas were among eight athletes nominated from the Ivy League conference. They were also among 577 overall nominees that NCAA member institutions submitted.
Out of the 577 nominees, conference offices across the United States named 151 college athletes, of which Binder is one, to advance to national-level consideration for the prestigious award.
Binder, of Armonk, New York, was an NCAA Women’s Foil Champion in 2019. She also took the Ivy League Women’s Foil Champion title in 2018 and 2019.
Binder finished fifth at The Ivy League championships this season, and second at the Northeast Regional, and third at the NCAA Championships with an overall record of 17–6. She also won third place at the NCAA championships in 2018.
She posted a record of 131–22 throughout her career, including a mark of 39–7 against Ivy League opponents, according to an Ivy League release.
According to the release, Binder has been recognized with multiple awards in May, including the Columbia Athletics’ Connie S. Maniatty Award, which is an annual honor presented to the top senior male and female student-athlete.
Other awards Binder has received include Columbia’s Rookie of the Year, William V. Campbell Performer of the Year, and Maniatty Awards, as well as the Columbia University Alumni Association Achievement Award, the Columbia University Spirit Award, and the Columbia University Senior Marshal Award.
Thomas was nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year award earlier in July by the University of Pennsylvania. The nomination sparked criticism and questions over whether Thomas, who is biologically male, should be eligible for the award.
Thomas was a former University of Pennsylvania swimmer for the men’s team and competed for three years, before starting hormone replacement therapy in 2019. After competing against females since the start of 2021, Thomas set new records for the university and the Ivy League.
Thomas’s case has garnered widespread controversy and debate about transgender participation in sports. Critics say biological males shouldn’t be allowed to compete against females, but others say that Thomas has no competitive advantage.
According to the NCAA, its Woman of the Year program is “rooted in Title IX and has recognized graduating female college athletes for excellence in academics, athletics, community service, and leadership since its inception in 1991.”
The ultimate winner of the award will be announced in January 2023 at a NCAA event in San Antonio, Texas.