The University of Pennsylvania recently nominated transgender swimmer Lia Thomas for the NCAA's "Woman of the Year" award.
Thomas won the NCAA women's 500-yard freestyle championship earlier this year after having previously competed for three years on the University of Pennsylvania men's team.
Former Auburn University and nine-time NCAA champion swimmer Maggie Bowen told FNC's "Fox & Friends" on Monday that she took issue with the nomination.
Bowen blasted the NCAA for allowing Thomas to compete in women's athletics, which she described as "wildly failing women in sports."
"Needless to say, I think it is disappointing and concerning for those close to the sport," Bowen said. "I think it's unfair. You don't like to use words like 'disgraceful' or making a joke that's a really big deal to a lot of people, and that's effectively what they've done. I won't say it is necessarily a surprise that Penn has chosen Lia to nominate. I don't believe that they have any other national title athletes right now. But it is kind of disappointing to know that they are less impressed with any of their current female student-athletes in their talent and are less deserving of this award. They are more impressed with a male-body athlete competing and beating females in their sport. And I personally don't find that very impressive."
According to Bowen, it is up to the NCAA to make the final determination out of the 30 finalists who make it into consideration.
She also said her ire was not aimed at Thomas but at the NCAA.
"[I]t is not against Lia, in particular," Bowen added. "It is fighting for the right of women in sports. And I think ultimately, the NCAA is wildly failing women in sports and discriminating and belittling the rights we have enjoyed for a long time. And I think the NCAA has blatantly now really told us they are not basing their decisions on facts and science."
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