A Vermont girls high school basketball team forfeited out of the Vermont Division IV state tournament after refusing to play against a team that includes a transgender player. The No. 12 seed Mid Vermont Christian School (MVCS) Eagles were scheduled to take on No. 5 seed Long Trail School on Feb. 21 in the first round of the tournament.
However, MVCS refused to suit up and withdrew from the tournament.
"We withdrew from the tournament because we believe playing against an opponent with a biological male jeopardizes the fairness of the game and the safety of our players," MVCS head of school Vicky Fogg said, according to CNN. "Allowing biological males to participate in women's sports sets a bad precedent for the future of women's sports in general."
Long Trail automatically moved on to the next round and will face No. 4 seed Arlington in Friday's quarterfinals. According to Valley News, none of the Mountain Lions' previous 20 opponents this season ever stated issues regarding their transgender player taking the court.
Vermont law allows transgender students to play on girls' high school teams. The anti-discrimination rules were first implemented last year and private schools are expected to follow them if they want state funding.
MVCS withdrawing was not completely out of the blue, per the local CBS station. MVCS and another religiously affiliated school told the Vermont Board of Education in a request for public funding earlier this year that they reserved the right not to follow all of Vermont's anti-discrimination laws because of religious beliefs.
"I have received calls (from schools) asking for best practices and how to go forward knowing they were going to play a team with a transgender female on it," assistant executive director for the Vermont Principals' Association Lauren Thomas told Valley News. "We just supported our stance and our best practices through our inclusivity statement."