HS NOTEBOOK: PIAA moves ahead to sanction girls flag footbal

Female high school athletes interested in playing football could soon have an opportunity.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Board of Directors approved the first reading of a motion sanctioning the emerging sport of girls flag football by a unanimous vote, 30-0, on Wednesday during its monthly meeting.

The sport achieved emerging status in July when it reached 25 schools hosting programs. Last month, there were 103 schools sponsoring girls flag football programs in Pennsylvania, according to the PIAA.

There will be two additional readings at upcoming monthly meetings, and the sport could reach sanctioned status when the board meets in July.

“We are very appreciative of the Board of Directors support and taking this first step to sanctioning girls’ flag football,” PIAA President and District 2 Chairman Frank Majikes said in a press release. “We have a lot of work to do, but with the support of the (Philadelphia) Eagles, (Pittsburg) Steelers, and the NFL, we’re hopeful of creating a solid foundation for girls’ flag football that will develop the sport for years to come.”

There are nine states that sanction girls flag football, according to the National Federation of High School Associations.

“The popularity of flag football — for boys and girls — has been growing at the youth levels for the past 10 years. In 2023, about 500,000 girls ages 6-17 played flag football – a 63 percent increase since 2019,” NFHS president Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff said in the release.

Girls flag football will be an official Olympic Sport, approved by the International Olympic Committee in October 2023, and played at the Summer Games in Los Angeles in 2028.

Girls flag football is following in the footsteps of girls wrestling, which was sanctioned in May 2023 and concluded its first official season this winter.

Board approves sites

The PIAA board approved sites for winter championship events for the 2024–25 and 2025–26 seasons. Bucknell University will host the Swimming and Diving Championships, and the Giant Center in Hershey will host both the wrestling championships and basketball championships.

PSFCA all-star gamesWhile spring sports seasons are still conducting championship events, the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association is hosting its annual all-star games.

On Sunday, Cumberland Valley High School’s Chapman Field hosts two games. The Small School East-West Game is at noon, and the Big School game is at 5 p.m.

Mid Valley defensive back Victor Holt, who qualified for the PIAA Track and Field Championships in the 100-meter dash, the 200, and as a member of the 400 relay in Class 2A, and Lackawanna Trail lineman Alex Castellano are members of the East Small School team. Riverside coach Harry Armstrong is an assistant coach for the East.

Delaware Valley linebacker Justin Kalitsnik, tackle Jacob Albaugh, and Abington Heights wide receiver Mason Fedor are members of the East Big School roster.

The Big 33 Football Classic is May 26 at Cumberland Valley at 7 p.m.

Delaware Valley tight end, and Stanford commit Aiden Black is a member of the Pennsylvania team that plays all-stars from Maryland. Old Forge coach Michael Schuback is a member of the Pennsylvania coaching staff.