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Despite vocal Seahawks support, WIAA votes down sanctioning girls flag football

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By: Mookie Alexander

Daniella Heminghaus | Bucks County Courier Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

Six more votes were required for the amendment to pass.

Girls flag football will not be a sanctioned sport in the state of Washington. At least not yet.

On Monday, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) released the voting results for amendments slated to go into effect for the 2024-25 school year. The assembly consists of 53 school administrators from the WIAA’s nine districts, and 60 percent of the vote (or 32 members) is required for a middle-level/high school amendment to pass. Unfortunately, girls flag football only received 26 votes, so the wait continues.

The Seattle Seahawks prominently voiced their support for girls flag football, including at last month’s NFL Draft. When stat wide receiver Tyler Lockett announced Seattle’s third-round pick, he was joined on-stage by the Emerald Ridge girls flag football team.

Seattle NBC affiliate KING-5 was told by one unidentified athletic director that, “adding another sport is not feasible as schools look to tighten the belt on athletic budgets.” For what it’s worth, girls badminton and E-sports were also under amendment consideration and were voted down.

Schools still have the option to add girls flag football to its programs, but it will neither fall under WIAA supervision nor have WIAA state championships like other sports.

This news comes at a time when flag football is set to debut as an Olympic sport for the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles. The NFL has touted the rise in popularity of flag football in recent years, particularly among girls.

“It’s going to be an Olympic sport,” Seattle native and Vice President of Community Engagement and Legends Mario Bailey said prior to the NFL Draft. “States that are sanctioned, they are ahead of the game and their girls are way more advanced because they’re playing. It’s important for this to get sanctioned because it’s not a matter of if it’s ever going to be sanctioned, it’s going to happen. So why not get it done now, so we can compete and also give these girls an opportunity to play.”

Currently, 11 states (Colorado, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Nevada, Alaska, New York, Arizona, Illinois and California) have sanctioned girls flag football as a varsity spot. The WIAA’s decision means that Washington missed the chance to (fittingly) be the 12th.

Originally posted on Field Gulls