When former women’s basketball player Kye Allums announced in November 2010 that he was the first transgender player in NCAA Division I history, it was with the public support of then-head coach Mike Bozeman.
But in the latest twist in a story that also saw Rolanda Delamartinez – Allums’ mother – allege that the University was keeping Allums from the media, a new Sports Illustrated article reported that behind the scenes, the Colonials locker room was thrown into “turmoil” because of Allums’ announcement.
Allums felt abandoned by his teammates in the ensuing media frenzy, the article reported, quoting unnamed players who said they wished he had waited to come out until after graduation. Allums said Bozeman, who was fired in March, also reacted negatively.
“[Bozeman] was like, ‘Now you’re affecting us,’” Allums said. “He pointed to the freshmen and he’s like, ‘Did you guys come here to have to deal with this?’”
In the Sports Illustrated article, Bozeman points to the lack of University support as a major factor behind the locker room crisis.
“I was winging it,” Bozeman said. “[The University] provided us with a sports psychologist to come and talk to the team, but that was toward the end of the year. We needed that at the beginning.”
Allums announced he would not return to the team in May 2011, citing lasting effects from a series of concussions that caused him to miss most of the 2010-11 season. He moved to New York City in March, according to the article, and spends most of his time “giving speeches on trans issues.” In November, Allums appeared on an episode of “Anderson” that discussed children and teenagers who identify as transgender. His ultimate goal, he said, is to run a foundation that helps trans youth like the “dozens” who have reached out to him on Facebook.
Allums began to physically transition from female to male last May, the Sports Illustrated article reported. He’s taking testosterone injections that have deepened his voice, increased his hat and foot size, caused him to grow a light mustache and enabled him to run faster. And he wants to use his remaining NCAA eligibility “to play with a men’s team at a small college while completing a master’s degree in psychology or sociology,” the article reported.
“Basketball is basketball,” Allums said. “If I can play, I can play.”