(Slay News) – The University of Pennsylvania has nominated biological male transgender swimmer Lia Thomas for the 2022 NCAA “Woman of the Year” award.
Thomas was nominated as a Division I athlete for the Swimming and Diving category.
The swimmer has been at the center of a swirling controversy over fairness in sports.
After previously competing as an unsuccessful male swimmer, Thomas recently “transitioned” to “female” and started competing in women’s events.
Since switching, Thomas has been dominating female swimming.
According to the NCAA, the award honors the “academic achievements, athletics excellence, community service, and leadership of graduating female college athletes from all three divisions.”
— Swimming World (@SwimmingWorld) July 15, 2022
The NCAA issued a statement that said: “NCAA member schools have nominated a total of 577 graduating student-athletes for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year award.
“Established in 1991, the award recognizes female student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in their community, in athletics and in academics throughout their college careers.
“As 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the NCAA Woman of the Year program is an important opportunity to honor and reflect on the impact of women on intercollegiate sports.
“This year’s nominees represent all three NCAA divisions, including 248 from Division I, 127 from Division II and 202 from Division III.
“Of the 577 nominations, 23 sports are represented, with 125 student-athletes competing in multiple sports.
“Each year, NCAA member schools are encouraged to celebrate their top graduating female student-athletes by nominating them for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Up to two female student-athletes can be recognized from each school if at least one of them is an international student-athlete or student-athlete of color.
“The conference offices will then select up to two student-athletes from their member school nominations. (If two are chosen, one must be an international student-athlete or student-athlete of color.)
“Nominees who compete in a sport that is not sponsored by their school’s primary conference, as well as associate conference nominees and independent nominees, will be picked to advance by a selection committee.
“The Woman of the Year Selection Committee will then select 10 student-athletes from each division, determining the Top 30 honorees.
“Of the Top 30, the Woman of the Year Selection Committee will announce nine finalists, three from each NCAA division.
“The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will review the finalists and name the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year.
“For the first time in the award’s history, the Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the Woman of the Year will be named at the NCAA Convention.
“The 2023 Convention will take place in January in San Antonio,” the statement said.