WIAA Representative Assembly votes down adding girls flag football in WA

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett, center, stands on stage with Seattle's Emerald Ridge girls flag football team during the third round of the NFL football draft, Friday, April 26, 2024, in Detroit.  (Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

The push to add girls flag football as an officially sanctioned sport in Washington schools was unable to clear a 60 percent approval vote from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Representative Assembly on Monday.

With a panel of 53 high school and middle school administrators voting on 27 separate amendments on Monday, the measure needed 32 votes to add girls flag football as a WIAA-sanctioned sport. The amendment failed by a vote of 26 votes in favor, and 27 against.

The Seattle Seahawks had thrown their support behind the initiative in the lead up to Monday's vote. Wide receiver Tyler Lockett brought the Emerald Ridge High School girls flag football team with him to the NFL Draft in Detroit to help him announce the Seahawks' third-round draft pick and further publicize their support for girls' flag football.

The team announced in April they had donated $24,000 in grant funding to support the effort to make flag football a sanctioned sport. They have donated over $300,000 in grant funding for the cause since 2021 and over 80 high schools across the state now offer flag football as a club option.

"We thank the WIAA for their ongoing partnership in growing girls' flag, and while we are disappointed the vote fell short for it to become a state sanctioned sport in Washington this year, we are encouraged by the amount of enthusiasm we've seen from the 80-plus girls flag teams currently playing," Seahawks' VP of community engagement and legends said in a statement. "We are hopeful it will become sanctioned in the future, and will continue to do whatever it takes to give girls the opportunity to play flag football at the highest level."

Washington would have become the 12th state in the country to have sanctioned girls' flag football. Colorado became the 11th state to do so in April.

Girls flag football wasn't the only potential addition that didn't pass on Monday. Girls badminton (17-36) and eSports (14-39) were all voted down by the assembly as well.

The re-sanctioning of girls' slow-pitch softball in 2018, and the addition of girls bowling in 1999 were the last two sports added by the WIAA.


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