Teen Fights For Girls To Play Football -- Again

Caroline Pla, 11, listens to a question during an interview Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, in Doylestown, Pa. Pla is fighting the R
Caroline Pla, 11, listens to a question during an interview Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, in Doylestown, Pa. Pla is fighting the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia for the right to continue playing church sponsored youth football. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

In 2013, all-star Caroline Pla was told by the Philadelphia Archdiocese Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) -- a Catholic-backed football league in Pennsylvania -- that she could no longer play tackle football because she was a girl and it was too dangerous.

After a long hard fight including an appearance on "Ellen," interviews with media outlets and a Change.org petition, CYO let her play after all in what they called a "provisional" decision. Two years later, she's fighting the same battle -- but this time she's standing up for other girls.

When CYO determined in 2013 that Pla would be allowed to play out her eligibility after all, a statement from the Archbishop's office said its decision "will be reviewed and revised in the coming several seasons, as judged appropriate by the Archdiocese."

The organization then reviewed and revised their decision in July 2014. They decided though that Pla was "grandfathered in" and could play a final season, according to Yahoo, other young female football players are out of luck.

The reason? It's "incompatible with its religious mission," according to a statement from the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference Education Department:

Preparation for Christian adulthood likewise involves the development and encouragement of appropriate, dignified and respectful forms of contact between male and female students. The [Arch]Diocese therefore believes that it is incompatible with its religious mission and with its effort to teach Gospel values to condone competitions between young men and women in sports that involve substantial and potentially immodest physical contact. Consequently, the [Arch]Diocese has adopted this policy prohibiting co-ed participation in the following sports: wrestling, tackle football and tackle rugby.

So on behalf of girls everywhere, Pla isn't going down without a fight this time either. The 13-year-old has launched another Change.org petition with her family. According to the petition -- which has so far been signed by more than 19,000 people -- the family believes CYO's new rule violates Title IX, a federal amendment which says no one can be "excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance" based on gender.

"... [A]s long as they receive federal funds to adhere to Title IX rules, they won’t be able to just rewrite a handbook to get away with gender discrimination. It is illegal to do so," writes Pla's mother, Marycecelia.

If the results of Pla's 2013 fight to play are any indication, CYO's rules don't stand a chance.

"I was mad," Pla told CNN in 2013. “Just really mad that we don't get the same opportunity as boys just because we're not a boy.”

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