Basketball Australia has held that trans basketballer Lexi Rodgers is “ineligible” to play in the women’s NBL1 competition.
Rodgers had applied to play at the elite level competition with the Victoria-based team Kilsyth Cobras. In a statement posted to her Instagram account, Rodgers said she was “disappointed” with BA’s decision.
“I sought a different outcome from Basketball Australia. I participated fully and in good faith with the process and eligibility criteria. Consistent with the views expressed by so many, I firmly believe I have a place as an athlete in women’s basketball,” Rodgers said.
Not The End Of The Journey
The trans athlete said the apex body’s decision will not stop her from playing basketball, which she described as “one of the great loves of my life”.
“I hope Basketball Australia understands that this is not the end of my journey as an athlete and that it must not miss future opportunities to demonstrate its values. I am sad about the potential message this decision sends to trans and gender-diverse people everywhere. I hope that one day basketball’s governing body can replicate the inclusion and acceptance I have found on the court with my teammates,” said Rodgers.
Rodgers thanked everyone who supported her and spoke in her favour. “I hope to one day be playing elite women’s basketball in the future and will continue to work on making the sport I love a place for all,” she said, adding, “Out of respect for the formal process I have undertaken with Basketball Victoria and Basketball Australia, I will not be doing any interviews or making any further comments on this matter at this time.”
Basketball Australia said that following Rodgers’ application, it had set up an expert panel comprising Dr Peter Harcourt (BA Chief Medical Officer, Commonwealth Games Medical Advisor), Suzy Batkovic OLY (BA Board Member, three-time Olympian) and Associate Professor, Diana Robinson.
“BA assesses the eligibility of prospective elite level transgender athletes on a ‘case-by-case’ basis, accounting for and balancing a range of factors, and has implemented this process on behalf of Basketball Victoria in this matter,” the organisation said in a statement.
Former Olympian and Basketball Australia Director Suzy Batkovic insisted that BA was not shutting the door on trans athletes.
“As we continue to develop our own framework for sub-elite and elite competitions, we understand the need to have a clear process and continual education within all layers of the sport so we can best support players, coaches, clubs, associations and the wider basketball community,” Batkovic said.
“I also want to make it clear because it’s important, that while this particular application was not approved based on criteria for elite competition, Basketball Australia encourages and promotes inclusivity at community level.”