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PIAA Takes First Step to Sanction Girls’ Flag Football


By a 30-0 vote, the PIAA board of directors recently approved a first reading for flag football in what it described as a first step in officially sanctioning the emerging sport in Pennsylvania.

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The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc. (PIAA) Board of Directors discussed approving girls’ flag football at its monthly board meeting in Harrisburg May 15.

By a 30-0 vote, the board approved a first reading for flag football in what it described as a first step in sanctioning an emerging sport.

“Girls’ flag football achieved emerging sports status in July 2023, reaching 25 schools hosting teams,” a news release about the vote said. It noted that the sport recently “surpassed more than 100 schools sponsoring girls’ flag football.”

Over the past three years the Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers and National Football League (NFL) have all been working to provide resources to female student-athletes across the state, the release added, with those organizations so far having helped start programs at 103 schools statewide.

“We are very appreciative of the Board of Directors support and taking this first step to sanctioning girls’ flag football,” said Frank Majikes, PIAA President. “We have a lot of work to do, but…we’re hopeful of creating a solid foundation for girls’ flag football that will develop the sport for years to come.”

According to the National Federation of High School Associations, nine states have sanctioned girls’ flag football.

“The popularity of flag football–for boys and girls–has been growing at the youth levels for the past 10 years. In 2023, about 500,000 girls ages 6-17 played flag football–a 63 percent increase since 2019,” said NFHS President Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff.

Flag football was also approved by the International Olympic Committee in October and will be an official Olympic sport for the first time in the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

This local news story was reported with generative AI assistance.


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