High school activities group worried about looming lawsuit if transgender athlete ban veto overidden

Mar 23, 2022, 11:57 AM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:21 am

UHSAA David Spatafore...

David Spatafore, with the Utah High School Activities Association, speaks during a Health and Human Services Interim Committee meeting at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Transgender youth’s participation in school sports was discussed during the meeting. (Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah High School Activities Association is worried about footing the bill if a lawsuit comes against H.B. 11. The bill, amended on the final day and in the final hours of the legislature, bans transgender girls from playing girls’ sports in Utah.

Gov. Spencer Cox vetoed the bill Tuesday afternoon.

Where the association stands

As things stand right now, if a lawsuit comes down, the UHSAA would foot the bill.  While the association says it remains neutral in its stance on the bill, it can’t afford to fight a lawsuit.

“Our position on House Bill 11 has been a neutral position,” said spokesman David Spatafore. “Currently we have a policy dealing with transgender students that we administer and we oversee. And it’s proven to be successful.”

Spatafore says the group will follow whatever policy the governor and lawmakers decide on, but they want to be indemnified. The association wants to protect itself from any possible legal action that could come down from the bill.

“If the bill is vetoed and is overridden, we would be concerned if there’s not an indemnification,” said Spatafore. “If there’s a special session that would amend the bill that would provide indemnification, then that’s okay, too.”

Spatafore added that UHSAA would administer whatever policy it is told to. 

The governor said if lawmakers do override his veto, he’ll call them back into another special session to make sure UHSAA is indemnified. 

How UHSAA works

UHSAA serves about 150 schools that opt-in to the association — each of the 150 pay to participate in the association’s tournaments, and that’s how UHSAA gets their funding.

Spatafore reports around 72,000 students participate in activities across those 150 schools. Students participating in multiple activities– which includes debate, speech, and drama–could be counted twice. 

Four of those students are transgender. One of them is playing girls’ sports.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Melatonin is a hormonal sleep aid. According to the Mayo Clinic, melatonin is produced and released...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Melatonin companies given two years to childproof their product, after melatonin related ER visits increase

The CDC said more than 11,000 children went to the ER in the last two years after ingesting melatonin.

14 minutes ago

Chad Daybell and attorney John Prior on day five of his murder trial on April 17, 2024....

Lauren Steinbrecher

Chad Daybell didn’t steal money from wife’s dead children

On the fifth day of the Chad Daybell murder trial Wednesday, the courtroom’s focus turned to an alleged plot to steal money meant for Colby Ryan‘s two murdered children.

1 hour ago

12% of women in Utah do not report sexual assault...

Eric Cabrera

Only 12% of Utah women report sexual assault, DA’s Office says

The Utah District Attorney's Office said for every 100 Utah women who are sexually assaulted, 88 of them won't report it.

2 hours ago

SLCPD is reminding anyone in the city this weekend to be mindful of travel impacts during the Salt ...

Devin Oldroyd

Salt Lake City Marathon will cause travel impacts, SLCPD warns

SLCPD is reminding anyone in the city this weekend to be mindful of travel impacts during the Salt Lake City Marathon.

2 hours ago

Image of people playing pickleball at the 11th Avenue Park in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 30, ...

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: Kids, stay away from Pickleball

Can’t get a timeslot on the court? Jeff Caplan proposes a new Pickleball Law.

3 hours ago

new byu head coach kevin young...

Sam Herrera and Emma Keddington

LISTEN: BYU welcomes new head coach

BYU is welcoming its new head coach for men's basketball, Kevin Young. Young comes to the university from the NBA.

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

High school activities group worried about looming lawsuit if transgender athlete ban veto overidden