The North Carolina House voted 62-43 in favor of House Bill 574, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” on June 22. The bill would require athletes in middle school, high school and college to only participate on teams that align with their sex assigned at birth. 

The bill previously received a 31-17 Senate majority, meaning it has received full state legislature approval and now only requires a signature from Gov. Roy Cooper to be signed into law.

If the bill becomes law, it will be effective starting with the 2023-24 academic year. 

HB574 dictates that all sport teams of middle and high schools, as well as higher education institutions, must be “expressly designated by biological sex of the team participants.” This applies for both interscholastic and intramural activities. 

The bill in turn specifies just three acceptable categories for a sport team: Males, men or boys; females, women or girls; and coed or mixed. Athletic teams designated for males, men or boys may not be open to students of the female sex, and vice versa. Further, the bill states designated biological sex refers solely to a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth. 

HB574 also defines an institution of higher education as a member institution of the University of North Carolina, a community college under the jurisdiction of the state board of community colleges or a private college or university located in North Carolina — which includes Elon University. 

Elon has 16 Division 1 teams and 26 intramural teams that would be impacted by the bill, if it was signed into law.

The bill also defines an intercollegiate athletic program as a sport program at the collegiate level for which eligibility requirements are established by a national association, such as the NCAA which Elon plays under.

Elon University spokesperson Owen Covington said in a statement to Elon News Network that university leadership is “reviewing the language of HB574.” Elon’s current policy aligns with the NCAA’s Transgender Participation Policy, which Covington said is “consistent with Elon’s foundational commitment to inclusivity for all students and student-athletes.”

The NCAA policy currently uses a sport-by-sport approach that “preserves opportunity for transgender student-athletes.”

This bill is one of many targeting North Carolina’s transgender communities. Senate Bill 631, House Bill 808 and Senate Bill 49 are all currently being pushed through the general assembly. 

SB631 would “prohibit the use of public healthcare facilities and state funds for gender transition procedures on minors.” The bill recently passed in the House with a 66-47 vote. The bill is cosponsored by State Sen. Amy Galey, a Republican who represents District 25 — which covers Alamance and Randolph Counties.

HB808 expands on SB631 and would prohibit most cases of surgical procedures, medications and treatments used for gender transition. The bill’s restrictions would apply to any medical professionals, not just those in state funded facilities. The bill was passed 74-44 by the House in early May. 

SB49, also known as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” would expand rights for North Carolina parents to be notified if their child changes pronouns at school, create policies for parents to review and challenge school material and prohibit instruction on gender identity, sexual activity or sexuality for students in kindergarten through fourth grade. Galey is also a cosponsor for SB49, which passed in the Senate in February with a vote of 29-18.