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NC State Swimmer Joins Lawsuit Against the NCAA (With Kylee Alons)

Kylee Alons Headshot

Over fifty years ago, Congress enacted a monumental law to protect women from sex-based discrimination, known as Title IX. This made signifcant strides in establishing and protecting women’s sports. Over the last several years, though, there has been a push to allow biological males who identify as women to compete on women’s sports teams, effectively negating many of the protections women gained through Title IX. In response, sixteen athletes from across the country have come together to file a class action lawsuit against the NCAA.

This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs welcomes Kylee Alons, a former swimmer at NC State University, to discuss Kylee’s experience swimming against Lia Thomas and why that prompted her to join the lawsuit against the NCAA.

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Transcript: NC State Swimmer Joins Lawsuit Against the NCAA (With Kylee Alons)

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Thanks for joining us this week for Family Policy Matters. Sixteen former and current female college athletes are suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association or NCAA over their regulations allowing male athletes to compete in women’s sports. The lawsuits lead attorney, Bill Bock, resigned from the NCAA committee on infractions and February in protest of those regulations. As increasing numbers of women athletes face injury, loss of titles, and loss of scholarships due to being unfairly forced to compete against men who identify as women, more athletes are stepping up to call foul. Today we are joined by Kylee Alons, a two time NCAA Champion, 31 time All American and five time ACC champion swimmer for North Carolina State University. She is one of the 16 female athletes who filed the class action lawsuit against the NCAA for “discriminatory treatment and severe emotional distress” stemming from its decision to allow men to compete in women’s college athletics, including free access to women’s locker rooms. Kylee Alons, welcome to Family Policy Matters.

KYLEE ALONS: Hi, thank you so much for having me on.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: And thank you for your courage. So start off by telling us about your life as a swimmer. When did you begin that and what were your dreams regarding competitive swimming?

KYLEE ALONS: So I’ve been out of competitive swimming for about a year, a little bit over a year, now. And I had swum for, I had learned to swim when I was really young, probably seven or younger and swam in various summer teams, just kind of pretty low key honestly until high school, which is when I decided to have a goal for the first time and make state and I think I was a sophomore in high school. And I just found that I was really good at it and just had this drive to just keep getting better. So I worked really hard my sophomore/junior year, and I ended up getting to swim for NC State, which is a NCAA division one team, one of the top programs in the nation. And I swam there for the past five years. So I got that extra year for COVID. And it was just a great ride. Yeah, I experienced a lot of success during my time there. I’ve met all the goals that I thought that I could have achieved.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: You did experience a lot of success, so congratulations on that. So tell us what happened that resulted in your joining this lawsuit against the NCAA?

KYLEE ALONS: There was a championship meet in 2022, NCAA Division One 2022 Swimming Championships for women, or so we thought, and it was a meet where we had to race and change in the same locker room as a male swimmer, Lia Thomas. And this is something that kind of garnered national attention, though I kind of didn’t realize it at the time. And it was the first time I’d ever been in an experience where I would have to race against a male swimmer. Someone who was on the Penn men’s swimming team the three years prior, and then decided to switch over to the women’s team and compete with women.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Tell me about that experience. What was that like? How did that make you and your teammates feel?

KYLEE ALONS: It was a meet unlike any meet I’ve ever experienced. The environment was very hostile. I think leading up to it, there was a lot of frustration directed just at the NCAA. Just wondering, why would they put us in this position, like it’s so obviously unfair. Like this is literally a swimmer who in October, the October before the championships that happened in March was going times that were so fast, way faster than women usually go in dual meets and obviously someone we had never even heard of before, and then just is dominating the women’s competition. And so I think I just felt a lot of frustration going in that meet knowing that it was so unfair and just knowing that there were girls that were left off of the NCAA meet, like they weren’t allowed to come to the meet and didn’t make the meet because Lia Thomas took their place and it made me extremely sad. But what I didn’t even think about because I was so flustered about the competition aspect and knowing that I would have to race this swimmer in one of my events, the 100 Free, is I never even gave it a thought to the locker room situation. I didn’t realize that we would be changing in the same quarters as him. And I think that is something that had an even more lasting impact on me than the competition aspect because it was an incredibly uncomfortable and frankly violating situation to be in.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: And I’m assuming you were not the only one that felt that way. I mean, we all hear about how important the locker room is, in preparation, and I remember seeing some swimmers when I was in college, and their mental game kind of before they went out to swim. So all of that was affected, you think?

KYLEE ALONS: Yeah, I think that I had to change my preparation for my race because I was encountering this uncomfortableness and stress in the locker room. So I actually ended up changing in a storage closet that was behind my team’s bleachers. And going back to your question about the mental game, yes, I did that because I was so stressed out in the locker room and I just didn’t want, I didn’t want distraction from my races, I wanted to prepare for my races like I always did. Getting to change in a private place to change at the most elite competition that I would go to every year, obviously, it seems like the bare minimum. But at that point, it was like I was thankful just to have a private place to change and quietly prepare for my race without wondering if I was just going to be naked in front of the opposite sex.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Remind us what happened at that meet. How successful was Lia Thomas,

KYLEE ALONS: He was incredibly successful in the women’s category. Won the 500 Free in the first day, that’s a moment that I’ll never forget. That is etched in my memory, you know, just seeing him take that glory, that champion glory, from Emma Wyant, the girl that got second place, but she was actually first but she you know, she didn’t get that celebration that she deserved. And I think that I was incredibly nervous going to the last day because I knew that that would be the time that I would have to race Lia Thomas, and it was my worst event at the time. So I was wanting to just make it back top 16. And I knew that there was a good chance that he could beat me and that I could be 17 place and not get to score points for my team. So I just remember feeling very stressed before my races. And you know, I think that that was the consensus overall was just, you know, we weren’t able to focus on our races the way that we used to because we had this distraction and just unfair competition. Like imagine if someone was allowed to dope or take performance enhancing drugs, obviously, there would be a lot of controversy and just frustration. And this is the same thing that we were dealing with having to compete against a biological man.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Let’s talk a little bit about the response that you’ve gotten to your decision to sign on to the lawsuit, because it’s been pretty amazing to see how quiet many women, even feminists, have been on this issue. It has taken a lot of courage for you all to step up, hasn’t it?

KYLEE ALONS: Yeah, absolutely. It was it’s really hard to talk about a topic that has this kind of conspiracy of silence that is surrounding it. But I will say that even though it seems there’s a lot of fear around speaking out, there are so many people that support our decision. And I think that the more that me and other girls continue to talk about it, the easier it becomes for everyone to talk about it. So actually what we’re seeing right now is, this year, compared to you know years prior, is just actually we see the tide is turning. Like there are so many women speaking out about it. And I think it really started with Riley Gaines. She was kind of the swimmer that really started the movement. And you know, she was alone for a while. And so many of us felt the same way, but we kind of still felt that fear about speaking out but you know, then the NCAA, you know we see this continue to happen to girls and you just you know exactly how they’re feeling in that position. And then you just can’t help but join in the fight and speak up about your experience.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: So why do you suppose Riley Gaines has had such a, I guess, a following, especially among fellow swimmers. Is there a reason you think why a lot of swimmers and maybe it hasn’t spread to some of the other sports quite as rapidly? Well, let’s explore that, since you brought that up. You are not just representing yourselves, you are representing women and girls, high school, middle school, even these little girls maybe who are starting to get into sports. And do you feel the burden of that?

KYLEE ALONS: Yeah, I feel like the swimming community, it’s pretty small. Like I feel like everyone kind of knows each other at least at the collegiate level. And I think that’s definitely a big part, because she has been the biggest voice in this and you know, I used to race Riley in college. So I knew her I swam in lines next to her. And I said, I gave her a high fives after we would race. So you know, I think that that personal aspect definitely helps. She is the, has become kind of the face of this whole movement because of the fact that literal Olympians at that meet racing him. And so I think that the fact that Riley is incredibly good at speaking, speaks truth, and that she’s also, she has a platform from that meet, I think that it’s given her a lot to work with and a lot to just show that just tell the whole story of the meat and give more advocacy for these smaller schools that they’re having it happen at smaller schools even now, but they’re not getting as much advocacy because it’s not getting the national media attention that a Division One meet would.  Absolutely. It’s kind of crazy how many stories that I’ve heard of ever since my experience, at all levels. High school, Division Three, Division Two, NAIA, and it is a serious problem in women’s and girls’ sports right now. And women deserve to be protected at every level, I don’t care what the world governing body says or anything like, elite athletes are not the only ones that should be protected. Every swimmer, every athlete, every girl should be protected and should have the right to not have discrimination on the basis of their sex. So I think that is what kind of encouraged me to come out because I realized that I do have a platform from being a successful athlete at the D1 level. And I wanted to use that to help women’s sports and to create a future for women’s sports because right now, the future women’s sports is not right if we continue to allow men and boys into women’s sports.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: So tell us about this lawsuit that you have signed on to challenging those NCAA regulations in women’s sports. What do you personally hope to gain? And what are you all hoping will be the outcome?

KYLEE ALONS: Our goal for this lawsuit is first and foremost, for the NCAA to take responsibility for what they have allowed to happen and to change their policies moving forward. That’s really the bare minimum that we’re asking for. And you can read more about our lawsuit if you go to Obviously, women have been harmed by their policies, and we want them to, you know, pay their dues for that. But the most important thing is just that they take responsibility and just make sports better for women moving forward.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Are you surprised that it’s taken this to get them to rethink this regulation?

KYLEE ALONS: If you’d have told me at that meet and say two years ago that I’d be part of a lawsuit, I definitely would not have believed you. I am, I’m very shocked that it’s come to this point. But it is really cool to see that we actually have been able to file a lawsuit and we do have so many people backing us and supporting us and we know that this is a fight worth fighting. But yes, I’m I’m very surprised that the NCAA has taken this long and has just turned a blind eye towards women for this long, like we’ve come so far. 50 years ago, Title IX was put into place, and that was such a step forward for women, but they’re literally erasing the whole premise of Title IX by denying that women’s sports deserve protection. So yeah, it is very surprising.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: We are about out of time for this week before we go, Kylee Alons, you already mentioned, but tell us again where our listeners can go to follow this lawsuit.

KYLEE ALONS: You can go to It’s a coalition of women’s organizations and there’s a lot of information on that site all about the plaintiffs and media and how to get involved. We, you know, we just filed it a month or two ago. So you know, there’s, we have a long road ahead of us. But you know, we were very positive about, this is a very groundbreaking lawsuit.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Yeah, it is. Kylee Alons, thank you so much for being with us today on Family Policy Matters.

KYLEE ALONS: Thank you for having me.

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