In 2017, a group of seven high school girls in Utah petitioned to start a tackle football league particularly for girls. A year later, they’re still fighting for a league of their own, but now they’re asking for a more serious legal battle.
As reported by the Deseret News, Brent Gordon, the father of one of the plaintiffs and a backer of the proposed girls football league, said the refusal of three cited school districts and the Utah High School Activities Association to address the Title IX disparity the group highlighted demands further action. Gordon’s proposal? Certify the existing lawsuit as a class action claim, which would force the districts to address it.
Gordon is the father of former youth football phenom Sam Gordon, a girl who starred in boys leagues and won national acclaim. Sam Gordon is one of the plaintiffs in the current case.
Per the elder Gordon’s research, Canyons, Jordan and Granite school district all fall short of equal opportunity between male and female students. Among the three districts, Gordon cited 700 more opportunities for male student athletes.
That would seem to indicate a clear violation of Title IX, though the case isn’t so open and shut. Per the Deseret News, the districts have to determine if there is enough interest at each of the 22 schools represented to field full football teams.
“Each district takes this lawsuit very seriously,” Assistant Attorney General Rachel Terry, who is representing the three districts, told the News. “They’re taking this lawsuit as an opportunity to see if they’re meeting the interests and needs of their students. But what Granite might offer is very different than other districts.
“We can’t offer every sport that every student wants to participate in.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t offer tackle football for girls, which is why the case lives on … for now.