In a move that comes on the heels of growing traction in recent years and could prelude growth in other states, the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section has voted to approve girls flag football as an official sport.
The governing body voted 61-26 with two abstentions to make it an official sports with the goal of launching it for the 2023-24 school year, according to ABC7.
At both high school and college, girls flag football participation has increased in recent years. It is sanctioned at the high school level seven states — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and New York, per CBS — and is an NAIA collegiate sport. In 2021, the NFL and Nike launched a $5 million grant toward the sport, and the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers launched a pilot high school league that elicited response from more than 70 schools wanting in, according to the Associated Press.
At the start of the 2022 high school season, Nike and the NFL launched a kickoff event with boys and girls football players taking part at an event at the Nike headquarters in Oregon.
Former NFL player Bobby Taylor said in an interview with USA TODAY High School Sports during the event said that the challenge to growing girls flag football hasn’t been willingness from athletes, but instead garnering enough support and resources.
“When you have entities like the NFL, Nike, supporting all of the efforts … the states that bring on girls flag as a sanctioned high school sport, and you also have the opportunity for girls to get scholarships … When you have this type of energy, it’s kind of hard for you to fail,” he said.