The debate over whether transgender athletes assigned male at birth should be allowed to compete on women's' sports teams has been reignited on the campus of Ramapo College of New Jersey in Mahwah.

Originally from College Station, Texas, Meghan Cortez-Fields swam on the men's team at Ramapo for three years.

Now she is on the women's team and has broken a second team record.

Facebook/Ramapo College Athletics
Facebook/Ramapo College Athletics

The controversy around Cortez-Fields joining the women's team first erupted last November when she broke the school record in the 100-yard butterfly.

At the time, school officials defended her spot on the team and pointed to NCAA rules regarding trans athletes.

"We have done everything the NCAA says needs to be done regarding trans athletes competing on the team," a schools spokeswoman said.

Another record, more controversy

Cortez-Fields set another record last Friday when she swam a time of 2:08:20 in the 200-yard individual medley.

When the Ramapo College Athletics Department posted congratulatory messages on social media, it drew sharp criticism from competitive swimmer Riley Gaines.

Gaines is a former all-SEC swimmer for the University of Kentucky and has been among the most outspoken critics of allowing trans individuals to compete on women's teams.

In a post on X (formerly twitter), Gaines wrote: "Male swimmer from Ramapo College sets another school record in women's event."

NCAA has struggled to be inclusive

The NCAA outlined new rules for transgender participation in sports in 2022.

Under the new rules, transgender student-athletes must document sport-specific testosterone levels.

Ramapo College of NJ, swimmer Meghan Cortez-Fields (
Ramapo College of NJ, swimmer Meghan Cortez-Fields (

"We are steadfast in our support of transgender student-athletes and the fostering of fairness across college sports," said John DeGioia, chair of the board and Georgetown president. "It is important that NCAA member schools, conferences and college athletes compete in an inclusive, fair, safe and respectful environment and can move forward with a clear understanding of the new policy."

Not everyone agrees with the NCAA policy

There has been vigorous debate over trans athletes competing on women's teams within the NCAA governing bodies and on college campuses nationwide.

The dissent reportedly led to a member of the NCAA Committee on Infractions to resign from his post.

Ramapo College of NJ, swimmer Meghan Cortez-Fields (
Ramapo College of NJ, swimmer Meghan Cortez-Fields (

According to a letter posted by the Washington Examiner, William Bock III resigned from the committee due to "regressive policies which discriminate against female student-athletes."

Bock said he always believed the NCAA's intent was to protect competitive fairness for student-athletes, but "this conviction has changed as I have watched the NCAA double down on regressive policies."

Bock is a former general counsel for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and has served on the Committee on Infractions for eight years.

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