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Ute Says ‘NO’ To Girls Flag Football In Ohio – Stateline Sports Network - FlagSpin

Ute Says ‘NO’ To Girls Flag Football In Ohio – Stateline Sports Network

(5-10-24) The NEO Flag Association held its annual girls playoff tournament at Cleveland Browns Stadium on May 6, 26 high school varsity teams were involved…Kirtland beat Berkshire in the championship game.

But during a Zoom meeting yesterday, which included the Browns and Bengals, to discuss the groundwork and future of girls flag football in the OHSAA.

OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute quickly put a damper on the future of the sport being sanctioned.

“Girls (flag football) will not be a sport next year.”

Ute added that girls flag football is

“kind of the Cleveland scene” 

Ute seems to have overlooked the many years that ‘powderpuff‘ flag football has been in Ohio schools. Most Ohio schools who play powerpuff feature grade levels playing against each other,,,by many it is a part of their intramural program. It is the grass roots of what is happening today.

2023 Wapakoneta High School Powderpuff Football Highlights

Wapak TV

 A total of 32 teams statewide currently compete in tournaments sponsored by both the Browns and Bengals.

“We’ll work with it and we’ll see. We have an emerging sport category. You’ve got to have a certain amount of teams. That’s what we did (before sanctioning) lacrosse. We’ll see. It’s really being pushed around the country by the NFL.”

Gennine Berwald, the wife of NEO Flag VP and co-founder, who is also a part of the organization said in a News-Herald story –

“I was hoping to get a little more feedback (from the OHSAA) as to what our next steps should be.

Who else can we reach out to? What else are we able to do? Can you give us names of athletic directors to reach out to?”

They want the work to be done and then they’ll put their stamp on it. I think if they (sanction it), we’ll work together on it and it’ll take off.”

It’s already underneath the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association. They adopted us under their umbrella, so Doug was happy to hear that.”

The OHSAA, by not moving forward with girls flag football, has lost a valuable opportunity to step into a NFL relationship with both the the Browns and the Bengals. The two teams both sponsor tournaments, including the NEO tournament that was played at the Browns Stadium.

The NFL is financially behind the effort to move forward the progress of girls flag football. The NFL and Nike are offering donations of up to $100,000 in products to state athletic associations that provide or pilot girls’ flag football programs.

Girls flag football is taking off around the US, including the NFHS which is looking to put together a rules package for state associations.

Girls Flag Football Expanding Nationwide, NFHS To Consider Publishing National Rules

In recent weeks both Illinois and Tennessee have sanctioned girls flag football.

Burke Nihill, Tennessee Titans President and CEO

“We are so grateful to TSSAA for today’s decision and their support of our girls flag football programs over the past several years. Girls flag football has emerged as one of the most competitive and exciting sports offered at the high school level, and has already impacted the lives of many young athletes with the rise of collegiate opportunities within the sport. We look forward to seeing its reach grow across the state as it becomes an officially-sanctioned sport.”

Titans Announce Approval for Girls Flag Football as an Official TSSAA State Sanctioned High School Sport 

Girls Flag Football To Debut As IHSA Sport In Fall Of 2024

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson

“The addition of Girls Flag Football furthers the IHSA mission of creating participation opportunities for high school students in Illinois. 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.”

Other States…

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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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