USA Rugby Policies
USA Rugby believes everyone should be not just be allowed, but encouraged to play rugby. Our sport is rooted in a deep history of inclusion and the belief there is a position for everyone on the field and in our sport.
USA Rugby strictly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The SafeSport program has been set up to give participants an outlet to report these incidents and they are encouraged to do so. Visit the USA Rugby SafeSport Page to find information on this program or to make a report.
Acknowledging the challenge of policies being altered at the international level of the International Olympic Committee and World Rugby, USA Rugby has taken steps to support the players, coaches, referees and administrators who may have questions around the inclusion of athletes of all genders. Any general questions around the policy process or our Transgender Athlete policy can contact the USA Rugby Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee at email@example.com.
USA Rugby currently adheres to the International Olympic Committee Transgender Policy, revised in 2015. That policy can be found HERE.
In this spirit, the IOC Consensus Meeting agreed the following guidelines to be taken into account by sports organizations when determining eligibility to compete in male and female competition:
Those who transition from female to male are eligible to compete in the male category without restriction. Those who transition from male to female are eligible to compete in the female category under the following conditions:
- 2.1. The athlete has declared that her gender identity is female. The declaration cannot be changed, for sporting purposes, for a minimum of four years.
- 2.2. The athlete must demonstrate that her total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to her first competition (with the requirement for any longer period to be based on a confidential case-by-case evaluation, considering whether or not 12 months is a sufficient length of time to minimize any advantage in women’s competition).
- 2.3. The athlete's total testosterone level in serum must remain below 10nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility to compete in the female category.
- 2.4. Compliance with these conditions may be monitored by testing. In the event of non-compliance, the athlete’s eligibility for female competition will be suspended for 12 months.
Athletes with questions around their own playing eligibility you can start with Mike Keating, USA Rugby's Medical Director (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Medical Committee will confidentially help athletes to clarify the policy and answer additional questions around appropriate participation. When a more formal guidance is needed or when another team has a question about a player they participated against, a process has been approved for appropriate evaluation.
Any team with a question or challenge about a player's eligibility to participate, would submit a normal eligibility challenge through their league administration. League administrators can work with the USA Rugby Membership department (email@example.com) for challenges and guidance.
To initiate our process, an athlete asks to participate in an evaluation; or the athlete is referred to evaluation from an opposing team's challenge.
Step 1: Athlete participates in informal, confidential interview with a medical committee representative. Upon completion the athlete will either be released to play, or moves to step 2.
Step 2: Athlete participates in testing as designated. Upon completion of testing the athlete is either cleared to play, or moves to step 3.
Step 3: Athlete is referred to transgender eligibility work group for clarification on length of stand down of play or referral to appropriate playing opportunity.
Coaches with questions about an athlete or participation, you can refer to our policies above, but keep in mind it is not your place to question an athlete who may or may not be transitioning. Coaches should be prepared to have conversations with athletes and opposing teams around the subject of transitioning players as to not be surprised on a day of competition. Below you can find some resources around this preparedness.