Senator Requests Records on Transgender Athlete

Texas Senator Mayes Middleton
Texas Senator Mayes Middleton | Image by Mayes Middleton/Facebook

Texas Sen. Mayes Middleton, author of Senate Bill 15, or the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” has sent a request to the University of Texas at Tyler for records related to a biologically male tennis player’s participation in women’s tennis events.

The subject of the request is former UT Tyler student-athlete Brooklyn Ross, who competed for the school’s women’s tennis team for two years, from 2021 to 2023.

“Recently it was revealed that UT Tyler allowed a 6 ft tall man to play on the Women’s tennis team for over two years (2021-2023),” Middleton (R-Galveston) wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “I sent this letter last week demanding UT Tyler produce all records related to this decision to allow men to play women’s sports. As of September 1 the Save Women’s Sports Act is law in Texas — it is illegal for men to unfairly compete against women in college sports in Texas.”

Ross graduated from UT Tyler in April, and no state policies prohibited transgender participation in collegiate athletics during the athlete’s time with the program. Additionally, the NCAA leaves those decisions to the national governing bodies for individual Olympic sports like tennis.

“UT Tyler Athletics adhered to NCAA policies while Brooklyn Ross participated as a student-athlete at the university,” the university conveyed to The Dallas Express in an emailed statement. “As a state university, we follow all state laws in addition to NCAA policies. Pursuant to Texas Government Code, UT Tyler responded with all legally required documents requested by Senator Middleton.”

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the governing body for tennis in the U.S. and has previously stated its support for transgender athletes.

“Tennis is a sport that embraces all players, regardless of age, race or religion, gender and sexual orientation or nationality,” a statement from the organization read. “It is a sport that is built on respect — respect for one another, and for the game itself. It is a sport with a long history of striving for equality and a proven record of trying to level the playing field of opportunity.”

SB15 was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in June and went into effect on September 1. The bill specifies that collegiate student-athletes in Texas must play for the teams corresponding to their biological sex. It is similar to House Bill 25, which regulates gender-based sports participation for K-12 institutions.

The new legislation has been criticized by many, including Ross and Sen. John Bucy (D-Austin). As previously reported by The Dallas Express, several protesters were present at a ceremonial signing of the law at the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame last month.

This is not the first time Ross’s participation in athletic events has been questioned. Earlier this year, Cheyenne Tennis Association President Jackie Fulkrod resigned after learning of Ross’s intention to compete at the Wyoming Governor’s Cup.

“I feel like having a transgender athlete compete in the women’s draw is against my personal integrity and what I believe and value,” Fulkrod explained.

Ross withdrew from the tournament over the concerns.

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