Parents Upset League Won't Let Girl Play Football

Girl, 12, Wants On School's Football Team

The parents of a 12-year-old Greenwood girl are challenging a rule banning her from playing on the school football team.

Lindsey Overstreet, who attends Our Lady of the Greenwood School, has been practicing with the football team this summer.

"I kind of just play it after school with my friends, and I guess people have told me I'm kind of good at it," she told 6News' Joanna Massee.

But the Catholic Youth Organization, which sanctions the school's football program, said a longstanding rule prohibits girls and boys from playing together in five sports, including football.

Only girls can play on the school's kickball team, while only boys are allowed on the football squad.

"We felt that those sports, the climate or the atmosphere of those particular sports, are best conducted in a single-gender environment," CYO Executive Director Edward Tinder said by phone.

But Overstreet's parents are challenging what they call an antiquated policy.

"From a physiological standpoint, until puberty, there's no difference between boys and girls, so there's really no reason that she couldn't play," said her father, Kevin Overstreet. "I just think it's better if girls have another opportunity to play another sport."

Tinder said he would forward the Overstreets' request to board members. He said the organization's concern is not with Overstreet specifically.

"There's no one particular concern regarding this particular lady playing football. Our concern, again, is centered around the totality of our program," he said.

Tinder said the board has considered similar requests in the past, but that no exemptions had been made.

Several other youth leagues told 6News they did not ban girls from playing football.