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Girls flag football becomes official Illinois sport: IHSA - FlagSpin

Girls flag football becomes official Illinois sport: IHSA

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Girls flag football is Illinois’ newest official high school sport, the Illinois High School Association announced Wednesday.

Earlier this month, the IHSA Board of Directors decided to introduce the sport into the IHSA State Series. Girls flag football will hold its first state championship in the fall. It is among 40 sports and activities that will be featured in the 2024-2025 State Series.

“The addition of Girls Flag Football furthers the IHSA mission of creating participation opportunities for high school students in Illinois,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said. “The sport has experienced significant growth in a short amount of time, and our member schools are excited to see it become an IHSA sport. The Chicago Public Schools Athletic Administration and the Chicago Bears both deserve significant praise for their grassroots efforts in shepherding and supporting the growth of girls flag football in Illinois.”

The Chicago Public League and Chicago Bears hosted a state championship event at the Bears’ headquarters in 2022 and 2023.

More than 100 schools across Illinois already have teams ready and eager to participate in the inaugural state championship, with nearly 40 more expecting to establish teams in 2025. Girls flag football joins other recently-added IHSA sports and activities, including the addition of girls wrestling, Esports, boys and girls lacrosse, and competitive dance.

“It is important for the IHSA to continue to adapt to the interests of our students and schools,” said Dan Tully, President of the IHSA Board of Directors. “Girls Flag Football is somewhat unprecedented in terms of its growth and timeline for achieving an IHSA State Series. We are enthusiastic about how much has been accomplished in such a short amount of time, and expect that participation will continue to increase in the years ahead.”

IHSA Assistant Executive Director Tracie Henry will serve as the IHSA Girls Flag Football administrator. She said there is a lot of work yet to be done before teams take the field.

Right now, the IHSA Girls Flag Football Advisory Committee is working to finalize the rulebook and structure of the State Series. The IHSA also needs to create a Request For Proposals to help scout for locations that may be interested in hosting the state finals.

“We have a group of people who are dedicated to seeing the sport flourish and putting on a first-class state tournament,” Henry said. “One area where we know we will need help is with officiating. We hope we can recruit some new officials to the sport, while also having current IHSA officials in other sports, including 11-player and 8-player football, add licenses to referee girls flag football as well.”

Those interested in officiating IHSA Girls Flag Football can begin licensing on May 1.

The first ever IHSA Girls Flag Football State Finals will take place on Oct. 11-12.

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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