Ever since I can remember, wrestling has been a central part of my life and my identity. My brother started wrestling when I was a preschooler, and I joined him on the mat when I was five. My relationship with the sport has impacted so many other aspects of my life and development — it’s made me mentally tougher, physically stronger, and more resilient.

When I enrolled in college at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, the wrestling coach and the wrestlers, all of whom were men, warmly welcomed me because 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.

Tell NCWA to update its gendered rules

That’s because the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA), which governs club wrestling in college, has a discriminatory rule banning women from wrestling against men in either competitions or practice. Because there are no other women who wrestle in the entire Great Lakes Conference, the NCWA’s rule means I have no opportunity to compete during the entire regular season. The only time the NCWA allows me to wrestle is in the national championships at the very end of the year, where women’s wrestling teams — mostly from the east and west coasts — participate.

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I have competed against male wrestlers my entire life because there are so few female wrestlers in the Midwest. I can remember wrestling tournaments in middle and high school where there were over 400 male athletes and me, the only girl. So what’d I do? I wrestled. And a lot of the time, I won.

As the wrestling season begins, I have to sit on the bench the entire regular season — simply because I am a woman.

In high school, I surpassed 100 varsity career wins, all against males — a rare accomplishment for high school wrestlers, regardless of gender. And when I have been able to wrestle against women’s teams at the end-of-year national championships, I have won, earning four girls’ wrestling titles in my weight division from high school or younger and two women’s titles so far during my freshman and sophomore years in college.

The NCWA’s rule is simply unfair. High schools across the country allow women to wrestle men when there is no women’s wrestling team, and so does the NCAA. So I could fight in the military to defend our country side by side with men, but I can’t compete against them in collegiate wrestling? There is no excuse for the NCWA to keep me off the mat while I watch my male teammates compete.

The ACLU, the National Women’s Law Center, and the Women’s Sports Foundation recently sent a letter to the NCWA on my behalf, arguing that preventing me from competing also violates the law. All I ask is to be permitted to wrestle during the regular season against my male peers.

Learn more about the case

I have proven that I’m just as talented and dedicated an athlete as any man in my weight class. I deserve an equal opportunity to compete in the sport that I love. So, NCWA, please let my coach put me on the mat — not just for me, but for the future of all women in this sport.

You can stand up for Marina and the rights of all women athletes by telling the NCWA to change its discriminatory policies. Join us in telling the NCWA to update its antiquated, gendered rules and stop denying Marina Goocher her right to compete in wrestling this season.

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Anonymous

Yeah, but you're no Abbie Hoffman.

Dr. Joseph Goebbels

I am also not George Wallace, and he said something very similar to Abbie Hoffman.

Anonymous

Hey joey goebbels, you are a waste of sperm !

Anonymous

Sperm, that's all you gays think about isn't it.

Coach

Go to the dean and ask why you can't play. Then go get a lawyer and sue your school for discrimination. The least you can do is get a couple of million from those bastards.

Anonymous

U of M is not the problem NCWA made the rules, they are the problem.

Anonymous

You would have a case under Title IX but unfortunately Obama took the teeth out of it. The only way that law can help you now is if you identify as a man. I hope you win but, unfortunately, the rights of real women have taken a backseat to anyone born with a penis. We don't even get our own blog on the ACLU website anymore.

Anonymous

The ACLU is probably going to see a backlash over one of the related stories from Dec 2014 entitled: Treating School Kids Differently Based on Sex = Discrimination. Not treating children differently based on sex is problematic for the whole "gender spectrum" (AKA gender stereotype) nonsense.

Coach

Over 30 colleges have women's wrestling, she got recruited and offered scholarships and she chose not to go because she wanted to stay near home. She is being crazy. How many schools have women's volleyball and not men's? So should make those schools allow men on the womens team because they didn't go to a school with men's volleyball?

Anonymous

There are no colledges offering engeneering programs and womens wrestling.

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