California High School Football Team Boldly Forfeits Game to Avoid Playing Against Females

 October 7, 2023

In a move that has sparked both controversy and admiration, Valley Christian Academy, a high school football team in Santa Maria, California, chose to forfeit its game against Coast Union in Cambria, California, due to the presence of female players on the opposing team.

This decision comes despite Valley Christian Academy recently settling a Title IX lawsuit for a similar forfeiture. The school's stance raises questions about the interpretation of Title IX and the ethics of contact sports.

The Title IX Debate

Valley Christian Academy has a history of forfeiting games when the opposing team includes female players. This is the fourth consecutive year the school has made such a decision. The school's Superintendent, Joel Mikkelson, who is also a pastor, argues that Title IX does not apply to football because it is a contact sport.

According to Mikkelson, "Title IX is very clear that contact sports are exempt from Title IX. It is an unfortunate tragedy that that is not understood by most people."

The Ethical Perspective

Mikkelson further elaborates that the school's decision is rooted in a desire to treat women with "gentleness and respect." He believes football is a violent game and does not want his male players to engage in aggressive physical contact with female players.

The court, however, did not entirely agree with either side in the lawsuit, leaving the Title IX and Education Code portions of the case open for further deliberation.

"In all fairness, we want to treat women with gentleness and respect," the pastor explained. "And so we want our young men to apply that to the football field. And we believe football is a violent game, and accordingly, we want them to operate within the rules of football and hit people well. And we don’t want them to do that to a young lady."


Valley Christian Academy's decision to forfeit the game has ignited a complex debate that intersects law, ethics, and sportsmanship. While some criticize the school for perpetuating "antiquated, misogynistic ideals," others commend the institution for taking a principled stand.

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