The female soccer players in North Dakota are not getting the same opportunities as the boys, because they are forced by the North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA) to play their High School Soccer season in the spring, which is a nontraditional season. A nontraditional season is defined as a season of the year different from when the sport is typically played, and that the nontraditional season is a disadvantageous time of the year to play the sport, causing inequities for the discriminated class. The boys play their soccer season in the traditional fall season. In addition, girls and boys play in the fall in all of our bordering states (Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana). Not only does the NDHSAA schedule girls' soccer in the spring, but those athletes are prohibited from participating in ANY other soccer activity during the high school season (this rule applies to all high school sports).
By forcing our girls to play in this nontraditional season, they are forced to miss all the higher level developmental opportunities. These developmental opportunities are all scheduled during the spring, because the traditional season to play high school soccer is the fall. These opportunities, include, but are not limited to, Olympic Development Programs, College Showcases, Club Tournaments and Regional and National Tournaments. College coaches recruit at these high level events, so our North Dakota girls miss out on getting recruited or granted athletic scholarships.
Other factors that make spring a disadvantageous season to play soccer include the weather (20 degrees colder on average than the boys season), highly variable weather causing many game cancellations, frozen fields causing practices to be held in school gymnasiums and the inability to play teams from other states (sometimes within the same community, such as Fargo and Moorhead). Finally, the message we are sending our girls is that they are not as important as the boys, that we can't figure out a way to move the season to the right time because it's "just girls". This is not the message we should be sending to the future leaders of our state!
There have been many legal cases decided over the past decade that have concluded that scheduling girls' sports in nontraditional seasons violates the law (Title IX, Equal Rights Amendment). The US Supreme Court has even upheld a decision that it is discriminatory. Please help us demand equal treatment for the girls of North Dakota. Sign the petition to tell the North Dakota High School Activities Association that discrimination against the girls of our state is not acceptable and the soccer season needs to be moved to the fall as soon as possible!