Female Football Player Claims Discrimination

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A female high-school football player claims she was discriminated against and suffered a severe injury, because her coach "wanted to show that girls were not tough enough to play football."

The Evansville Community School District and head coach Ron Grovesteen discriminated against Ivyanne Elborough by refusing to give her a permanent jersey, denying her access to a women's locker room to change and forcing her to cut her hair, Elborough and her mother claim in Federal Court.

Elborough had joined the Evansville High School football team as a freshman. She claims the coach posted the practice schedule only in the boys' locker room, where she could not see it. Similarly, she says snacks were served there, preventing Elborough from enjoying them with the rest of the team.

"This had the effect of locating certain aspects of team camaraderie in a place that was inaccessible to Plaintiff Elborough," the lawsuit claims.

Grovesteen, allegedly made Elborough cut her hair "very short" twice, even though boys on the team were permitted to have longer hair styles. She claims Grovesteen told her that "cutting her hair like a boy's was a commitment she needed to be willing to make to play football."

She says Grovesteen refused to unlock the women's locker room so that Elborough could get her safety gear and allowed the plaintiff to practice without it. As a result, Elborough was seriously injured during practice. He was "malicious and willful in failing to prevent injury to Plaintiff Elborough ... because he wanted to deter (her) and future female students from participating on the football team."

Elborough and her mom seek compensation for alleged injuries, medical costs, humiliation, mental and emotional distress, and other damages. They are represented by Jett Scott Olson.

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