NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City must offer more sports opportunities for high school girls in order to comply with federal Title IX provisions, federal officials said in a ruling made public Tuesday.
The ruling from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights says city high schools need to provide at least 3,862 more spots on teams for girls in order to achieve gender equity.
The ruling comes in response to a 2010 complaint filed by the Washington, D.C.-based National Women's Law Center.
"Too many girls are being refused the chance to reap the positive benefits that extend beyond the playing field," said Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the women's law center. "The stark statistics represent lost opportunities that would have enriched girls' high school experience and boosted their academic performance and overall health."
The civil rights office said girls account for 44 percent of city high school athletes and boys make up 56 percent.
The New York City Department of Education said in an agreement resolving the complaint that it denies violating Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 but that it would take steps to ensure compliance.
City education officials said they would complete a survey of girls in grades eight through 12 by the end of June to determine "the existence and/or scope of any unmet athletic interests of female students."
They said they would consider expanding the team rosters of popular sports so more girls can take part.
Additionally, the city said its Public School Athletic League would publish an email address on its website that students and parents can use to request a new sport.
"We have been and remain deeply committed to ensuring that all of our students have access to our outstanding athletic programs," department spokesman Jason Fink said.