Update: As a result of the almost 50,000 petition signatures, NCISAA has obtained the services of a Peace College professor who will help them administer a survey to student and community members regarding gender-based athletic needs. They have stated that the survey results will be discussed at the June 2012 Board of Managers meeting and action on changing gender policy decided in September by the Board of Directors.
"I would like to thank the tens of thousands of people around the world who supported me and the women of Team USA in our effort to bring equality to girls who desire to play tackle football," said Adrienne Smith, petition creator and a player on the US Women's Tackle Football Team. "I am pleased that the NCISAA took our petition seriously and that they will be conducting a survey to review their policy of preventing girls from playing football. It is my hope that in the very near future, the NCISAA will reverse their policy so that girls like Mina Johnson can play football and realize their full athletic potential."
Meanwhile, Mina Johnson, whose story of being benched inspired the petition, intends to go out for her Virginia school's varsity football team next year, which doesn't have the same exclusionary restrictions.
Adrienne decided to close the petition while the NCISAA is collecting data on the issue as a gesture of good faith. Thanks to everyone who signed -- she'll be keeping an eye on the NCISAA to make sure they follow through on their promises to pursue this issue seriously, and will re-open the petition should the need arise.
On Thursday, October 6, 2011, Mina Johnson sat out of Southampton Academy's junior varsity football game because their opponent, Northeast Academy, threatened to forfeit if a girl played. At 5'2" and 170-pounds, Mina is a starting linebacker for the Southampton Academy Raiders. She is also an honor-roll student and is quite formidable on the football field, having sacked Rocky Mount’s quarterback four times during a 30-24 win on Sept. 22.
This petition was started by members of the U.S. women's national tackle football team to show support for Mina Johnson, her coach and team, and the multitude of girls and women who face discrimination in the sport of tackle football.
Northeast Academy is part of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association, which prohibits "participation by boys in girls’ sports and girls in boys’ sports in any event hosted and/or sponsored by any NCISAA school." This petition is to tell the NCISAA to adhere to the spirit of Title IX calling for equal opportunity in sports, by changing NCISAA policy to allow girls and boys to play together when only one team exists for a given sport -- as Mina's own school allows her to.
Furthermore, though NCISAA is a private league, it has imposed its sexist policies on an unaffiliated school by refusing to play against a gender-neutral team, which is unacceptable.
As a member of the U.S. National Women's Tackle Football Team, I ask you to sign this petition to help promote tackle football as a sport that welcomes all participants regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender.