Flag Football, the non-contact version of Football, was recognized as a girls’ high school sport by the CIF (California interscholastic Federation) in February. The decision was unanimous, and the games will kick-off during fall 2023 season! California is not the first state, however, to sanction the sport, as it is already being played in Florida, Nevada, and Alabama.
Before the Title IX in 1972, female students were not provided with the same level of opportunities and facilities when it came to sports. However, in the recent past, schools and state-level organizations have started paying more attention to events exclusive to female students, and the number of female athletes in schools has dramatically increased as well.
Female students face a number of barriers when it comes to participation in sports in California. These include gender stereotypes, safety concerns, access to facilities, and social stigmas. The recognition of flag football in high schools is an important step in helping female athletes get rid of these issues by providing a safe, and female-only event.
One of the many reasons that American football is male dominated, is that it is a tackle sport which means that the risk of injuries and concussions is always high. Contrary to this, the safe nature of Flag Football will allow more young athletes, more importantly female athletes, to participate in physical activities.
“Flag right now is aimed directly at getting more girls involved in athletics by adding a different sport that we know girls across the country are interested in, but not willing to play tackle for a variety of reasons.” Paul Hart Rodas (President CIF Southern Section) said.
The decision was well-received by the community. “To see this happen, another all-girls sport be instituted in CIF, is absolutely awesome and incredible,” Gilmore said. The impact of the decision will be seen with time; however, we can be sure that this will increase sports participation, as Flag Football is a game that can be played by anyone, regardless of their age or gender. With the approval given, schools are now set to create their own teams.
There are numerous players that want to be a part of the games, but don’t want to be tackled or hit. Flag Football is a great alternative for such players. The recognition of flag football as a girls’ high school sport is a key step towards promoting gender equity and inclusivity in sports. The decision will help provide a safe sport for young students and athletes.
With the addition of a new sport, schools can create a new competitive and healthy space for their female students. The female students, who may have lacked sporting opportunities, can now reap the benefits of physical activities.
The impact of this decision will surely be a long-lasting and positive one. Young students, both male and female, will have equal opportunities for showcasing their skills, and learn the beauty of teamwork.