Nearly five years ago, Sam Gordon first broke the internet as a 9-year-old female football star, blazing past boys on the field in her viral highlight reels. Now she’s about to make headlines and try to change the course of history by pushing for high school girls’ football programs in Utah.
On Tuesday, Yahoo Sports reported that Gordon, 14, and fellow players from a local recreational league she started in her community are suing three school districts to force them to create girls’ football teams in the Salt Lake Valley area. The Gordon and six other plaintiffs are claiming that the districts are violating Title IX by only offering the sport to boys. The plaintiffs filed the suit on Friday in honor of Title IX’s anniversary.
“It’s not a publicity stunt,” their lawyer, Loren Washburn told Yahoo. “We want a change in the sporting landscape.”
The idea to file the suit started when Sam’s father Brent Gordon realized that there was a lot of girls who were interested in joining the local recreational league: The number of players went from 50 to 200 girls in the past few years. He then talked to the Utah High School Activities Association to start school teams, but the association advised that they wait until the league grew even larger.
“I don’t want to wait 10-15 years,” Brent said. “My daughter would be 30 years old by then. These girls want to play now.”
[More from Excelle Sports: Four Title IX lawsuits that rocked the world of women’s sports]
The success of the lawsuit will largely depend on the interest of girls’ football in the Salt Lake Valley area and the ability of the prosecution to overcome safety concerns.
“We will continue to review this case as it’s debated on its merits,” Jeff Haney, spokesman for the Canyons School District told Yahoo. “As demand warrants and we can satisfy the need, and to adhere to any Title IX requirements, we can add to our roster of sports.”