A former player in the Utah Girls Tackle Football League said she would welcome the cancellation of football for boys if the bench trial alleging two school districts and the Utah High School Activities Association are violating Title IX does not lead to the addition of girls' football in the state.
Dalainee Robison, a senior at Kearns High and a plaintiff in the lawsuit, gave her opinion Monday when UHSAA lawyer Craig Parry asked if she would want football to be eliminated altogether should she and other plaintiffs lose the case. Robinson’s reason for saying football should be eliminated altogether was because “it isn’t fair,” she said.
Robison, who said she did not play tackle football this year due to a back injury, stopped short of condoning the elimination of all boys' sports should girls' tackle football not be provided as a result of the lawsuit.
Jordan and Granite school districts and the USHAA are being sued in Utah federal court for allegedly violating Title IX — the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex — because tackle football for girls is not offered on a statewide level. The girls suing the three parties currently attend schools in those districts. Sam Gordon is a party in the lawsuit, as is Robinson.
An amended complaint filed in June 2018 asks the court for 14 separate actions related to the lawsuit. One of them relates to football and boys' sports and what should happen to them if girls' tackle football isn’t offered. It reads: “Issue a preliminary and permanent injunction suspending Districts' boys football programs until the Districts provide girls football teams.”
The plaintiffs also request that the court suspend all boys' sports “until the Districts provide substantially proportionate athletic participation opportunities to girls.” That request is not related to just football.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs have brought up girls' wrestling and lacrosse as examples of contact sports the UHSAA has sanctioned in recent years. They also have said that due to a Title IX rule, schools must offer teams in contact sports to both boys and girls. Because there is no football for girls only, Title IX isn’t being met, they say.
The Jordan District, for its part, believes it provides substantial opportunities for girls and does not believe it is in violation of Title IX, Brad Sorensen, the administrator of schools at Jordan District, said Wednesday.
Lauren Dixon, a senior at Summit Academy who also played in the girls' tackle league, said Thursday that she would neither want football nor all boys' sports to cease if the lawsuit doesn’t go the plaintiffs' way. BayLee Simmons, who testified Wednesday, wasn’t asked that specific question.
Robison, Dixon and Simmons have all testified that they have had a positive experience playing in the girls' tackle league, but would prefer to have girls' teams at their respective high schools. All of them have also testified that while some coaches have in some way discouraged them from playing football with boys at their schools, no administration official has done so.