A federal court may soon hear whether it's discrimination to prevent girls from playing high school football.
The parents of six Utah girls filed a lawsuit last week over the policy of three school districts, which are preventing them from forming a girls' high school football team, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The parents claim discrimination under Title IX, which banned sexual discrimination in federally funded sports programs.
In January, the same court temporarily allowed a junior high school student to join her school's wrestling team. (The school district allowed girls to wrestle in high school, but not junior high.)
The country has seen an increase in the number of girls playing the sport, which has long been viewed as a men's-only game. In 2016 there were more than 25,000 girls in pads across the country — and supporters say there is a need for competitive women's high school football.
The lawsuit said that high school sports offer more advantages, the Tribune noted, including the "support of cheerleaders and a band." The lawsuit says the athletes "could earn accolades that are considered by colleges" by playing in school — and can't get those benefits by playing extra-varsity sports.
"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," the plaintiffs noted.