In a bold move that reflects the values of faith and fairness, a Vermont Christian school recently made headlines by forfeiting a playoff basketball game. The reason? Their girl’s basketball team was scheduled to face off against a team that had a biological male player on its roster.
Mid Vermont Christian School, a proud institution dedicated to its Christian beliefs, found itself at the center of controversy when they opted not to play against the Long Trail Mountain Lions, a team with a male student-athlete. Despite Vermont state regulations permitting biological males to compete in girls’ sports, Mid Vermont Christian School stood firm in its conviction that such a decision jeopardized both the fairness of the game and the safety of their players.
The 12-seeded Eagles from Mid Vermont Christian School were slated to take on the 5-seed Long Trail Mountain Lions. However, by forfeiting the game, the Mountain Lions were granted an uncontested path to the next round of the playoffs.
Head of School at MVCS, Vicky Fogg, passionately expressed her concerns, stating, “We believe playing against an opponent with a biological male jeopardizes the fairness of the game and the safety of our players. Allowing biological males to participate in women’s sports sets a bad precedent for the future of women’s sports in general.”
This principled stance by Mid Vermont Christian School is not an isolated incident. Other teams and schools have voiced their reservations about competing against teams with male players. Lauren Thomas from the Vermont Principal’s Association acknowledged these concerns, mentioning that schools have sought guidance on best practices for handling such situations.
However, what sets Mid Vermont Christian School apart is their unwavering commitment to their Christian beliefs. This is not the first time they have clashed with state officials over matters of faith. In the past, they sent a letter to state officials affirming their right to make decisions based on their religious beliefs, including those related to hiring, admissions, and operations policies.
The letter stated, “As a religious organization, the school has a statutory and constitutional right to make decisions based on its religious beliefs, including hiring and disciplining employees, associating with others, and in its admissions, conduct, and operations policies and procedures.”
Furthermore, the school made it clear that there were certain topics they would not teach, such as those related to marriage and sexuality, as they contradicted their religious convictions.
Aaron Warner of the Vermont Daily Chronicle added another perspective to the debate. He pointed out the inherent disadvantages of allowing a biological male to compete against female athletes in high school sports. He noted that in a recent game, the male player in question had blocked seven shots, a feat made easier by his physical advantages in terms of height and strength.
Warner questioned the fairness of such a situation and asked, “In what world is this even remotely fair to other Vermont Division IV girls?”
The debate over allowing biological males to compete in girls’ sports is not limited to Vermont. It has become a contentious issue nationwide, with differing viewpoints on the balance between inclusivity and fairness. Advocates argue that transgender athletes should be allowed to compete in alignment with their gender identity, while others, like Mid Vermont Christian School, emphasize the importance of maintaining a level playing field for female athletes.
As the conversation around this issue continues to evolve, Mid Vermont Christian School’s principled stand serves as a reminder that the intersection of sports and social issues can be a complex and challenging terrain to navigate. While they may have forfeited a game, they have undoubtedly sparked a larger conversation about the future of girls’ sports and the principles that should guide it.