Senator Ricketts’ Weekly Column: Fighting to Protect Women’s Sports

Pete Ricketts Weekly Column

Title IX was passed by Congress more than 50 years ago to level the playing field for girls and women. It prohibits sex-based discrimination in sports and education programs that receive federal funding. Recently, Joe Biden’s Department of Education (DOE) released new Title IX rules that radically rewrite the law. The rewrite threatens the progress and safety of American girls and women in education and athletics. I’m standing with women across Nebraska against these radical new policies.

The new rules redefine sex to include “gender identity.” They would effectively enable transgender students to use any single-sex spaces they choose. They would force girls and women to share dorm rooms, bathrooms, and locker rooms with boys and men. The new rules would also allow male students to take academic and athletic scholarships from women. The rules also give the federal government power to investigate any instance where transgender students face perceived unequal treatment based on their gender identity as sexual harassment. This could include incidents where a student did not use a fellow student’s preferred pronouns.

This is wrong. It’s not harassment to affirm what every generation affirmed until recently. These rules deny science and common sense. They’re also a clear example of federal executive overreach. The original intent of Title IX was to protect WOMEN. “Gender identity” never appeared in the original Title IX law. The Biden administration unilaterally and with no legislative authority chose to rewrite the statute to say as much anyway. Even the New York Times wrote that these rules “effectively broadened the scope of Title IX.”

For over 50 years, we’ve seen women’s collegiate athletics soar to new heights under Title IX. Last year, a world-record 92,000 fans crammed into Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium for Volleyball Day in Nebraska. Omaha World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel wrote that it might have been “the biggest Title IX statement of all time.” Just last month, a record 19 million Americans watched the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship game between Caitlin Clark’s Iowa and South Carolina. More people watched the women’s championship game than the men’s for the first time ever.

It's not just about athletics. These Title IX changes impact women’s athletic and academic scholarships. Negative impacts on women’s educational opportunities will ultimately limit their career opportunities. That’s unacceptable.

The Biden administration doesn’t seem to care. These new Title IX rules will reverse the five decades of progress that got us to this point. That’s why I’m working with colleagues on legislation that would block and overturn the DOE’s rules. I’m also supporting the Protection of Women and Girls Sports Act, which forces the current and any future administrations to interpret Title IX as originally intended. I’m committed to protecting equal opportunity for our daughters, granddaughters, and sisters.

My team and I are here to serve you. Contact us anytime by phone at 202-224-4224 or on my website at