An expert panel convened by Basketball Australia (BA) has determined transgender athlete Lexi Rodgers is ineligible to play elite-level basketball, including for the Kilsyth Cobras in the NBL1 South competition this season.
The expert panel was led by Dr Peter Harcourt (BA Chief Medical Officer, Commonwealth Games Medical Advisor), Suzy Batkovic OLY (BA Board Member, three-time Olympian) and Associate Professor, Diana Robinson.
BA assesses the eligibility of prospective elite-level transgender athletes on a ‘case-by-case’ basis, accounting for and balancing a range of factors, and has implemented this process on behalf of Basketball Victoria in this matter.
As the governing body, we acknowledge we’re still on a path of education and understanding. To aid us in developing our framework, Lexi will provide feedback and advice from her experiences.
The balance of inclusivity, fairness and the competitive nature of sport will always be a complex area to navigate, and we thank those involved who have maintained integrity and respect throughout the process.
Athlete Lexi Rodgers posted a detailed statement on social media calling Basketball as one of the great loves of her life.
“Like so many people who play every week across the country, the basketball court is where I feel safe, where I feel free, and where I feel I belong. As an athlete, this passion and love for the game motivated me to play to the best of my abilities against the toughest competitors at the highest levels.”
“I want to thank everyone who has supported me as I have sought to participate in the NBL1 this season. The backing of the players, coaches, my club and grassroots members has been overwhelming. I am so grateful for their desire to have me as part of their community.”
“I have been humbled by the number of people who have publicly spoken in favour of including me as a player in the NBL1. Such support fills me with pride, but also sends an honest message of equality to those who are also seeking belonging within the sport.”
“I sought a different outcome from Basketball Australia. I participated fully and in good faith with the process and eligibility criteria. Consistent with the views expressed by so many, I firmly believe I have a place as an athlete in women’s basketball.”
“I hope Basketball Australia understands that this is not the end of my journey as an athlete and that it must not miss future opportunities to demonstrate its values. I am sad about the potential message this decision sends to trans and gender-diverse people everywhere. I hope that one-day basketball’s governing body can replicate the inclusion and acceptance I have found on the court with my teammates.”
“I hope to one day be playing elite women’s basketball in the future and will continue to work on making the sport I love a place for all.”
Basketball Australia Director, former Olympian and panel member, Suzy Batkovic, said:
“Firstly, on behalf of Basketball Australia I’d like to acknowledge and sincerely thank Lexi for her cooperation, understanding and patience throughout this process – it’s a complex space that continues to evolve,” Batkovic said.
“While Lexi is understandably disappointed with the outcome, I know she’ll continue to support her NBL1 South team throughout the season and be an active member of the basketball community.”
“As we continue to develop our own framework for sub-elite and elite competitions, we understand the need to have a clear process and continuing education within all layers of the sport so we can best support players, coaches, clubs, associations and the wider basketball community.
“I also want to make it clear because it’s important, that while this particular application was not approved based on criteria for elite competition, Basketball Australia encourages and promotes inclusivity at community level.”
Lexi and the Kilsyth Cobras have been informed of the decision.