Girl’s flag football established as Arizona Interscholastic Association’s newest sanctioned sport

The AIA has voted to include flag football as its newest sanctioned sport and plans to feature...
The AIA has voted to include flag football as its newest sanctioned sport and plans to feature a fall championship in 2023.(WANF)
Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 2:31 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Girl’s flag football is the newest sanctioned addition to the Arizona Interscholastic Association. The first season of play will be in the fall of 2023.

Many schools will be able to gather a team for the inaugural season based on the calculated interest of youth across the state. “We’re excited the executive board has approved girl’s flag football as a sanctioned sport. We’ll have a state championship in year No. 1,” said AIA Executive Director David Hines. “Our hope is to see fast growth of the sport within the membership.” The AIA also approved a fall season so that the championship will coincide with tackle football championships.

A rulebook was created during the summer by an exploratory committee, and the formal AIA guidelines were based on rules from other states that already carry flag football in addition to other Arizona-specific rules. For example, Arizona rules will include placekicking, the only state in the nation to have the maneuver. “Today is a significant step forward,” said Hamilton coach Matt Stone. “The AIA took chances with these rules compared to other states. We looked at a lot of different sources to compile this rulebook.”

In the long run, AIA hopes the sport will be formally recognized as a varsity sport and to have it eventually offered by the NCAA. With that potential addition, scholarships will become available.

“It is awesome that flag football has skipped emerging status and jumped in with both feet as a sanctioned sport,” added Rae Black, head coach for Casteel. “It’s growing fast in Arizona and we want to keep up with the other states where it is succeeding. I’m glad for this initial group of girls that will get to experience this.”