The parents of six female high school students in Utah have sued three school districts over their failure to offer girls' football teams.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the lawsuit contends that the lack of female football teams in the Jordan, Canyons and Granite school districts amounts to sex discrimination and violates federal Title IX requirements.
The parents also named the Utah High School Activities Association as a defendant.
"[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," the lawsuit states.
One of the high school students that is party to the suit helped form the Utah Girls Tackle Football League in 2015, the suit. Within a week of the league opening, 50 girls had registered, the suit says. The following year, participation grew to 100 girls, and in 2017, 200 girls joined.
One hundred girls who played in the league this year would be eligible to play at high schools in the fall, the suit states.
Herriman High School in the Jordan School District approved a girls' football club earlier this year, and 50 girls who attended the high school's sophomore orientation signed a form stating they'd like to learn more about girls' football, the suit says.
The lawsuit requests that the districts offer official girls' teams through Herriman, the other high schools in the district, and the high schools in the Canyons and Granite districts.
Girls would rather play for high school teams than for recreational teams, the lawsuit asserts, because they'd have the support of cheerleaders and a band and could earn accolades that are considered by colleges.
They also could compete for regional and state championships, earn school credit for physical education classes, and could have their accomplishments documented by school and local newspapers.
Ben Horsley, spokesman for Granite School District, says the district has worked with the parties in the lawsuit and feels "comfortable" that it is providing the "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," he says. "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."