ACLU Michigan urges College Wrestling Association to stop sex discrimination

Posted at 1:28 PM, Oct 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-25 14:00:01-04

The ACLU of Michigan, ACLU, the National Women's Law Center and the Women's Sports Foundation sent a letter to the National College Wrestling Association to change its policy that prevents women from competing against male wrestlers.

The letter was specifically sent on behalf of Marina Goocher, a wrestler at the University of Michigan Dearborn, who is currently not allowed to compete against male wrestlers during the regular club wrestling season.

The NCWA governs club wrestling in college and, under its current rule, Goocher is only allowed to compete against other woman. 

Goocher has no opportunities to wrestle opponents during the regular season because there are no other women wrestlers in her weight class to compete against within the Midwest.

 "Ever since I can remember, wrestling has been a central part of my life and my identity," Goocher said in a statement. "When I enrolled in college, the wrestling coach and the wrestlers, all of whom were men, warmly welcomed me becaues they knew I could help the team win."

"But right now, as the wrestling season begins, I have to sit on the bench the entire regular season - simply because I am a woman."

The UM-Dearborn men's wrestling coach and team want Goocher to participate, as well. 

According to the ACLU, high schools across the country allow women to wrestle men when there is no women's wrestling team, and so does the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The letter maintains that NCWA's rule is based on "biased and unwarranted gender stereotypes," and that women are entitled to equivalent opportunities to wrestle.