Some Utah girls want to play football

Three school districts in Utah, a lawsuit filed in federal district court claims, “fail to provide equal treatment and benefits to girls as they do boys because [the] districts give boys the right and opportunity to use the high school football fields, stadiums, facilities, but do not provide girls the same treatment and benefits,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

The parents of six female high school students are suing everyone from the superintendents of the Jordan, Canyons, and Granite school districts to the state high school athletic association to make sure that girls have access to tackle football in high school. They say interest is high and provide as evidence membership in a league for girls and sign-up sheets expressing interest in learning more about girls playing football at one of the high schools.

But the Utah Girls Tackle Football League, formed by one of the plaintiff girls in 2015 and boasting a current membership of about 200 high school students, isn’t recognized by the Utah High School Activities Association, despite the provisions of Title IX.

“We work closely with the High School Activities Association to identify athletic opportunities for both genders,” the paper quoted Ben Horsley, spokesman for Granite School District, as saying. “If there were sufficient interest in a female-only football league and it were sanctioned by the High School Activities Association, we would have no issue in providing such a program. But that is not currently the case.”

As in other states, the association allows girls to play high school football (on the boys’ teams), but there’s no provision for a girls’ football team separate from the boys’ team.

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Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.