Six high school girls in Utah who want to play football had their parents file a lawsuit Friday against the Jordan, Canyons and Granite school districts because the districts didn’t have girls' football teams.
The lawsuit also targets the Utah High School Activities Association and the superintendents of each district, noting that the failure to provide girls’ football teams violates federal Title IX, stating, "[The] districts 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.”
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
According to the lawsuit, one of the girls helped create the Utah Girls Tackle Football League in 2015, which had 50 girls in 2015, 100 girls in 2016, and 200 girls in 2017.
The lawsuit asserts that 100 girls from that league could play at high schools in fall 2017. The parents say in the lawsuit that girls would rather play for high school teams than for recreational teams because they could have cheerleaders, a band, and possible honors that would tempt colleges.
Ben Horsley, spokesman for Granite School District, said the district had received the Title IX complaint, adding that the district has offered an "appropriate amount of school activities for our students, regardless of their gender … We work closely with the High School Activities Association to identify athletic opportunities for both genders. 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."
Canyons School District spokesman Jeff Haney said his district officials will "continue to review this complaint." He noted that the district added lacrosse for both boys and girls "because of demand.”