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Seattle Seahawks Champion Efforts To Sanction Girls' Flag Football As A High School Sport - FlagSpin

Seattle Seahawks Champion Efforts To Sanction Girls’ Flag Football As A High School Sport

By Kiara Doyal, The Seattle Medium

Flag football has been rapidly gaining popularity worldwide, especially among girls in the United States. Currently, nine states recognize girls’ flag football as a sanctioned high school sport, and The Seattle Seahawks are striving to make Washington the tenth state to do so. To achieve this, the Seahawks have collaborated with several athletic directors to propose an amendment to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA), which oversees high school athletics in the state. This would allow girls’ flag football to be a sanctioned high school sport.

According to Becca Stout, the Seattle Seahawks’ Managing Director of Community Engagement, the proposal, which was submitted in October 2023, is scheduled for a vote by 53 representatives of high schools across the state in early May. The Seahawks and the NFL view this initiative as a critical component for promoting the sport and ensuring equal opportunities for girls. From a local perspective, the Seahawks have provided funding to over 70 schools to help form girls’ flag football teams in 2023 alone.

“We as the Seahawks have been supporting [girls’ flag football] since 2021 and have given over $300,000 in grants to high schools across the state to help them launch the girls’ flag football. The upswell [in interest] that we have seen over the last three years is insane,” says Stout.

People all over the world are noticing the rise in flag football, which will be an Olympic sport for the first time at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics. Proponents believe that sanctioning girls’ flag football as a sport in the State of Washington would give the interested schools the opportunity to establish a program, as well as offering many opportunities for girls statewide to compete at the highest level.

“By sanctioning, girls could now get scholarships that they wouldn’t have been able to have gotten before, and there could potentially be someone from Washington competing in the Olympics in four years,” says Stout.

While some believe that introducing girls’ flag football might lead to lower participation levels in other high school sports, many advocates, including Stout, argue that it’s crucial for student-athletes, especially girls, to have options that pique their interest and align with their skill sets.

“The Seahawks have noticed that a large number of girls are not being taken away from other sports, but instead are showing interest in flag football and loving every minute of it,” says Stout. “I think one of the biggest things to me is that I grew up here, I went to high school here, and I never had the opportunity to play flag football. It would have been unbelievable if it was offered during that time.”

While boys’ tackle is already being sanctioned across the country as a high school sport where boys are able to compete in state championships, the Seahawks are hopeful in achieving recognition for girls’ flag football by becoming a sanctioned sport in every state throughout the country as well.

“We hope that the vote passes, allowing then for girls to be able to compete in a state championship, with the first season starting in the 2024-2025 school year,” says Stout.

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