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Fairness in Women's Sports


Everyone knows that I am willing to fight for what I believe in. Some have even accused me of fighting too much! And one fight that I’ve taken on for years is fairness in women’s sports. And it’s a very simple fight: only girls should play girls’ sports.


This is very personal for me. I’ve been a 15-year-old girl in a locker room. Thankfully, I never had to worry about having a boy in that locker room next to me. My daughters, Kassidy and Kennedy, both played sports in college. If my girls had been playing against men, their ability to compete would have been dramatically limited.


Kassidy is pregnant with a baby girl right now. I want that baby – my granddaughter – to have the same opportunities that I had and that my daughters had.


And it’s a fight that I’ve taken on in the past. When the federal government tried to force boys and girls to compete against each other in 4-H rodeo, I stood up to protect fairness. Other leaders stayed out of that fight. But we won. We protected fairness in rodeo.


When we take on these important fights, we have to do so in a smart way. Throughout the COVID pandemic, I always made sure that I knew what my authorities were, and what they were not. We have to fight these important battles in smart ways, based on the authorities that we do have. We have to take actions that actually do good for the people of South Dakota, not just pick fights that feel good.


We have to do this right. If we lose, we could set back protections for our girls. And that’s not what anybody wants.


We are going to continue to protect women’s sports in South Dakota. We’re working to protect them at the K-12 level. And we’re building a coalition to take on the NCAA so that we can ensure protections at the collegiate level as well. To join that coalition, you can go to DefendTitleIXnow.com and sign our compact.


Again, the issue is very simple: only girls should play girls’ sports. Let’s take on this fight in a way that we can win, and let’s keep working together to build a coalition to make sure that the NCAA protects fairness as well.