USC Women's Basketball Head Coach Shares Her Support for Trans Women Athletes

Coach Dawn Staley said she believes trans women should be included in women's sports during a recent press conference.

Mike Lawrie / 2024 Getty Images

Dawn Staley, head coach for South Carolina's Gamecocks, recently expressed her support for the inclusion of transgender athletes.

During a NCAA Women's Final Four press conference on Friday, Staley was asked about her opinion on trans athletes.

After first taking a sip of her drink, the two-time National Championship recipient joked, "Damn, you got deep on me, didn't you?"

She continued, "I'm on the opinion of, if you're a woman, you should play. If you consider yourself a woman and you want to play sports or vice versa, you should be able to play. That's my opinion. You want me to go deeper?" 

I asked South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley if she supports transgender women (biological males) playing women's college basketball.

"If you consider yourself a woman and you want to play sports or vice versa, you should be able to play."

— Dan Zaksheske (@RealDanZak) April 6, 2024
Twitter: @RealDanZak

When the question was reiterated to specify trans women playing women's basketball, Staley gave a similar answer, recognizing that it would ignite debate on social media.

"That's the question you want to ask; I'll give you that. Yes, yes. So now the barnstormer people are going to flood my timeline and be a distraction to me on one of the biggest days of our game, and I'm okay with that. I really am," she said.  

Friday was a huge day for the Gamecocks, who defeated the NC State Wolfpack in a 59-78 win. Under Staley's leadership, the Gamecocks are in the women's Final Four alongside UConn, Iowa, and NC State, and Staley was named Naismith Coach of the Year in 2020, 2022, 2023 and 2024. In March, Staley received her seventh SEC Coach of the Year title, in addition to five team members earning SEC distinctions.

View this video on YouTube

The inclusion of trans athletes remains controversial, as the American Psychological Association reported that as of last June, roughly 72 bills were introduced in the U.S. to ban trans students from athletics that were "consistent with their gender identity." Staley's public support is significant, considering she is a top figure in the world of women's sports.

What an incredible moment to have the top coach of the top team on the biggest stage face the question head on and stand up for trans women. Dawn Staley is remarkable.

— Lindsay Gibbs (@linzsports) April 6, 2024
Twitter: @linzsports

Latest in Sports