Thank you all for being here. I’M joined this morning by former nfl football players, herschel walker and jack brewer. I also have a statement from nancy lopez, who is a professional golf hall of famer. She had scheduling conflicts, so she’s not able to be here, but she did send a statement and support as well. We also will have comments shared by collegiate athletes, high school athletes who will be collegiate athletes and then high school participants as well, and those involved in the sports area and arena. Listen we’re here today to talk about fairness in women’s sports it’s, an issue that i’ve been heavily involved in for years. If you remember back when the usda tried to force boys and girls into the same events at 4, h rodeo, i fought with the 4 h rodeo team here in south dakota to make sure that they remained separated. I led the fight to protect fairness for girls in the rodeo arena and when we won in 2018 it was because we approached it in a smart way. I’Ve been very consistent in telling people that i believe the girls should play. Girls, sports it’s clear that each and every one of us as men and women have exceptional gifts and differences. They should be celebrated, but those differences are very real and the physical differences are very real. Men tend to be stronger, they tend to be faster. Men have different bones, tendons and ligaments; they also have larger hearts and lung volume, and on and on, and these biological differences lead to very different athletic capabilities.
So put simply, it is fundamentally unfair for men to compete in women’s sports and it’s a violation of title ix. Now title ix was created to level the playing field between men and women. It was intended to give opportunities to women to let them to compete and to be successful in college athletics and it’s. For this equal opportunity to be fair, that girls should play girls, sports girls, sports, give girls the opportunity to demonstrate their skill, their strength and their athletic abilities. It also gives girls the opportunity to obtain recognition to be successful, learn valuable life lessons and also gain college scholarships or even an athletic career beyond high school and college. So this issue matters to me on a very personal level. I have two daughters that played college sports. They had an opportunity to compete at that level and enjoyed and learned many life lessons from that experience. I played school or sports in high school, not in college, but i did in high school now. If my girls had been playing against men at the college level, their ability to compete would have been dramatically different, in fact, i’m, not even sure, if they would have been allowed to compete at that level or even qualified to compete. If they had even had the opportunity to participate at all, participating in college sports teaches teamwork, it teaches leadership, work, ethic and grit, and it also develops your talents and your skills. I would not have wanted my daughters to miss the opportunity to learn these life lessons now.
My daughter cassidy is pregnant with a baby girl right now, she’s going to have a little girl. That will be my granddaughter, and i want my granddaughter to have the opportunity that my daughters had now last year at the beginning of the covid pandemic. My health secretary said to me governor: do you want to make decisions that make people feel good, or do you want to do good, and i told her that i wanted to do good. I wanted to make decisions that actually created opportunities for people kept them healthy, but also gave them the chance to be successful. It’S, not enough just to say that only girls should play girls sports. We need to take action that actually does good and we need to defend title ix. The legal framework that gives women the opportunity to succeed and to thrive in sports for months really since november, my team and i have been talking to well respected legal scholars at the national level, we’ve been trying to figure out how to defend women’s sports effectively. We didn’t want to just take action that would make us all feel good. We want to take action. That would actually do good and we have to do that in a way that we can actually win. We can win the argument. We can win it in court. We whitney can win it nationwide for all of our girls that legal, vic victory has to be based on title ix and our participation trophy just isn’t, going to cut it let’s take action that really gives us the result of protecting women’s sports.
Now i want to be very palms up with each and every one of you here today. These legal scholars think that south dakota’s chances of winning a lawsuit against the ncaa are very low. The ncaa is a private association. That means they can do what they want to do and even though, fundamentally i fundamentally disagree with them when it comes to this issue. If south dakota passes a law that’s against their policy, they will likely take punitive action against us. That means they could pull their tournaments from the state of south dakota. They could pull their home games. They could even prevent our athletes from playing in their league that’s their prerogative. So a fight that doesn’t truly protect women’s sports and doesn’t allow women to compete. Ultimately is going to hurt south dakota families and if the ncaa did take action against the state of south dakota, we could sue them. I know we could do that, but these respected legal scholars informed me that that we would likely lose at that level facing the court circumstances that we have in front of us. So we could pass a law, then we could get punished. Then we could face expensive litigation at taxpayer expense and then we could lose we’d have nothing but a participation trophy to show for it, or we could take a different path entirely. So today, we’re announcing that we’re forming a coalition called defendtitle9now.com. The coalition will consist of athletes, leaders and everybody who cares about protecting women’s sports.
Once we have enough states on board a coalition brought big enough where the ncaa cannot possibly punish us all, then we can guarantee fairness at the collegiate level. Here’S. The pledge that i’m asking all the partners in this coalition to sign the undersigned degree that title ix needs to be protected and that we commit to working together to keep fairness in women’s sports. We believe that only girls should play girls. Sports title ix was passed to protect fairness for women. The federal government should enforce title ix in a way that protects fairness for women’s sports, rather than misusing it in a way that undermines fairness. The ncaa and other athletic sanctioning bodies should not take any adverse actions against any state or school that acts to protect fairness for women.