A female football star in Utah has shifter her focus from the gridiron to the courtroom, in her quest to force school districts to offer a girls only football program.
Sam Gordon, 17, a player whose football prowess has brought her both ESPN accolades and national recognition on Super Bowl commercials, feels that being a female has brought with it tremendous motivation and challenges.
Gordon says she often heard parents encouraging their kids to “beat the girl.”
“I had a target on my back, and it was in the shape of a ponytail,” Gordon said. “It was awesome to prove to them that I’m more than just a girl in pads. I’m actually a football player.”
Proving she’s a player, however, turned out to be only the beginning. Now Gordon is suing her school district and two others, to mandate that they provide a girls only football program under Title IX. The suit claims that a number of girls who would like to play football do not feel comfortable doing so with boys, and that some females face harassment.
In some ways, Gordon and her father have already addressed the issue on their own. Six years ago, they began an all-girls league in the Salt Lake City area that has become very popular.
The prospects of forcing the school districts to do the same, however, are far from certain.
“The districts and state athletic officials are pushing back in court, though,” Fox News reports. “They argue a girls football program would be unsustainable and require new infrastructure they shouldn’t be responsible for.”
Though, because Gordon is a senior, in a best case scenario she would only be eligible to play for one spring season.
Closing arguments are due to conclude this week.