California Makes Girls’ Flag HS Sport
In a significant move in a state with the largest number of high school athletes, California recently approved a plan to make flag football a girls’ high school sport.
The move by the California Interscholastic Federation — the statewide body that governs high school athletics — makes flag football an official sport for girls in the nation’s most populous state for the upcoming 2023-24 year. The plan was approved unanimously by the organization’s federated council in Long Beach, Rebecca Brutlag, an agency spokesperson, told CBS News.
Paula Hart Rodas, president-elect of the CIF Southern Section’s council, said the goal is to get more girls involved in high school sports but who are hesitant to play tackle football. Southern California schools spanning from Long Beach to Corona are hoping to start teams in the fall and the approval allows districts to add the sport to their budgets, Hart Rodas said in the CBS News report.
“You can love the game of football and not love getting tackled but still want to participate,” Hart Rodas said. “Flag right now is aimed directly at getting more girls involved in athletics by adding a different sport that we know girls across the country are interested in, but not willing to play tackle for a variety of reasons.”
The move adds California to a growing list of states that have included girls’ flag football in high school athletic programs, such as Alabama and Nevada. New York state’s public high school athletic association took a similar step recently and expects to host the first state championship for girls flag football in the spring of 2024.
Troy Vincent Sr., the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, wrote in the Sacramento Bee that times have changed since he played professional football, which back then was “broadly seen as a man’s game.” He said high school players might be able to play into college and beyond as universities have also ramped up the sport.
Vincent is also pushing to get flag football added to 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. “This is no longer just a backyard sport for girls’ pickup games during family holiday gatherings,” he said.