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Sorry, but we are revoking that scholarship

Major university wisely withdraws women’s volleyball scholarship offered to a male

University of Washington campus Associated Press/Photo by Ted S. Warren

Sorry, but we are revoking that scholarship
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Tate Drageset looks female enough.

The celebratory picture hailing the California high school volleyball player’s scholarship offer from the University of Washington shows a beaming individual who goes by the name of Tate Drageset, standing on the beach at sunset. Long blond hair cascades from the top of Drageset’s head down past Drageset’s slender shoulders, partially obscuring the purple letters on the teen’s gray Washington sweatshirt. Using one hand, Drageset uses dainty-looking fingers to form a “W”—index finger and pinky extended outward, middle and ring fingers crossed, thumb tucked in—while flashing a megawatt smile.

Of course, Drageset looks happy in the photo. He’s made sports history: Not only is the junior from a high school in an affluent Los Angeles suburb the first male athlete to be named the California Interscholastic Federation’s Division 5 Girls Volleyball Player of the Year, he’s also reportedly the first male high school athlete to be offered a women’s athletic scholarship by an NCAA Division I school.

Not even a week after snapping and posting the photo online, Drageset made history again. This time, however, he probably isn’t smiling about it: Drageset is also now the first male athlete to have a scholarship offer to join a college women’s sports team revoked.

For Riley Gaines, the former University of Kentucky swimmer who’s become America’s foremost advocate for keeping male athletes out of women’s sports, Washington’s decision to pull Drageset’s scholarship offer is cause for celebration.

“@UWVolleyball should rescind the scholarship offer if they really care about women,” Gaines wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, when news of the offer broke. “He can play with the men.”

Washington, for the record, does not have a men’s volleyball team. Many colleges do, though.

Regardless, Gaines got her wish—which is why LGBT+ activist George Takei, best known as Mr. Sulu from the original Star Trek TV series and related movies, directly blamed her for the decision. Gaines responded by crowing sarcastically on X: “Oh no! An actual woman will receive a women’s scholarship!!! How devastating!”

To be honest, I’m surprised Washington withdrew the offer. UW sits in an über liberal city (Seattle) in an über liberal state staunchly devoted to protecting the LGBTQ agenda. And while Gaines’ advocacy has helped secure legal protections for female athletes in some states, it has also drawn fierce, sometimes violent, opposition in pro-LGBTQ strongholds like San Francisco.

It’s very possible, perhaps even likely, that Drageset will eventually smash a female opponent’s face in by spiking a volleyball in it at 70 mph.

As an ardent supporter of one of UW’s chief Pacific Northwest sports rivals, the University of Oregon, I’m predisposed to dislike the Huskies. Still, as the father of a preteen daughter who excels in interscholastic sports and doesn’t want to see boys relegate her to also-ran status, I must tip my cap to Washington.: While the Huskies should not have offered Drageset a scholarship in the first place, they’ve properly repented. For that, UW deserves applause.

That said, I don’t expect Drageset’s saga to be over—far from it.

If Drageset’s athletic abilities are far superior to the girls he’s competing against, as some websites have reported, some school somewhere is going to give Drageset a shot, thereby buying (at least publicly) into the oft-repeated lie that “trans women are women.” It wouldn’t be entirely unprecedented. The University of Pennsylvania (swimmer Will “Lia” Thomas), the University of Montana (cross country runner Jonathan “June” Eastwood), and New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce University (track-and-field hurdler Craig “CeCe” Telfer) have each let athletes who competed on men’s teams for three years switch to their equivalent women’s teams after a year of so-called “transitioning.” Thomas and Telfer, in fact, won NCAA titles after doing so.

The women on Drageset’s future team likely won’t be happy about having him as a teammate. But university officials will use threats and emotional blackmail to silence them—just ask former Penn swimmer Paula Scanlan, who watched Thomas infamously obliterate women’s records in the pool and lived with his discomforting presence in the Quakers’ locker room. And if Drageset’s teammates dare voice their displeasure, as female swimmers at Roanoke College in Virginia did to a male teammate earlier this year, woke media outlets will trash them as the sports equivalent of the villains in the movie Mean Girls.

It’s also very possible, perhaps even likely, that Drageset will eventually smash a female opponent’s face in by spiking a volleyball in it at 70 mph. Just ask Payton McNabb, who suffered that very indignity at the hands of a male opponent in a North Carolina high school match in 2022.

And if Drageset gets no other scholarship offers, I’m betting the University of Washington can expect Drageset to file a lawsuit aimed at gutting the protections for female athletes under Title IX, the federal law aimed at promoting equal opportunities for women in federally funded educational institutions.

As Gaines recently testified before Congress concerning proposed revisions to Title IX that would allow male athletes to compete on women’s teams, “Unsafe, unfair, and discriminatory practices toward women must stop. Inclusion cannot be prioritized over safety and fairness.”

Clearly, UW got that message. For the sake of true female athletes, who have long struggled to secure their place in the sports world—and apparently still are—high schools and colleges across the country need to get it as well.

Ray Hacke

Ray is a sports correspondent for WORLD who has covered sports professionally for three decades. He is also a licensed attorney who lives in Keizer, Ore., with his wife Pauline and daughter Ava.


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