Thursday, May 16, 2024

Could Girls Flag Football Become an Official PIAA Sport in Pennsylvania?

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc. (PIAA) Board of Directors convened for its monthly meeting on Wednesday, where one of the key agenda items was the discussion surrounding the emerging sport of girls' flag football.
During the session, the Board of Directors delivered a unanimous vote of 30-0, approving the first reading to potentially include girls' flag football as an official sport within the PIAA framework.

The momentum behind this decision mirrors the remarkable growth trajectory of girls' flag football across the state. Since attaining emerging sports status in July 2023, the sport has rapidly expanded its footprint, initially involving 25 schools with teams. Fast forward to the present, and the number of schools sponsoring girls' flag football has surpassed the milestone of 100.

Driving this surge in participation are concerted efforts from prominent stakeholders such as the Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the National Football League (NFL). Over the past three years, these organizations have been instrumental in providing resources to female student-athletes statewide. Their collaborative initiatives have resulted in the establishment of programs at 103 schools, with 65 schools in the eastern region and 36 in the western region actively embracing girls' flag football.

Frank Majikes, President of PIAA, expressed gratitude for the Board of Directors' support, emphasizing the pivotal role this decision plays in laying a robust foundation for the sport's future development. Majikes noted, "We have a lot of work to do, but with the support of the Eagles, Steelers, and the NFL, we’re hopeful of creating a solid foundation for girls’ flag football that will develop the sport for years to come."

Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, President of the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS), highlighted the growing popularity of flag football among both genders, citing a significant uptick in participation over the past decade. In 2023 alone, approximately 500,000 girls aged 6-17 engaged in flag football, marking a remarkable 63 percent increase since 2019.

The sport's ascension to international recognition was further solidified when it received approval from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in October 2023. This decision paves the way for girls' flag football to feature as an official Olympic sport in the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Picture Above from the North Schuylkill Powder Puff Classic held every where during Homecoming Week.