commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

The New Florida Female High School Sport……Flag Football!


The Dog played touch football for a long time…. growing up….

I went on to play High School Football also…

When I got into college and few years after…We played touch and flag football…

I Loved it!

As a matter of fact this ole’ Dog would jump at a chance to play touch , or flag again….

Now I’m talking about NO tackling football…

I’m entirely too old for the contact stuff..

Which brings us to young women playing the game now…

Why NOT?

The piece I’m going to put up here is really about the resistance to the game because there is nowhere for players who obtain a skill in the game to go…..

It’s not played in College and there is no Pro League…..

Again…..So What?

Keep playing the game young ladies……Keep organizing!

It will grow……You’ll see…..You have to start somewhere…..

Flag football, long relegated to family picnics and gym class, has quietly become one of the fastest-growing varsity sports for high school girls in Florida. A decade after it was introduced, nearly 5,000 girls play statewide — a welcome development in a state that, like others, has struggled to close the gender gap in high school athletics.

But rather than applaud the new opportunities, some women’s sports advocates call it a dead-end activity. Flag football is played only at the club and intramural level in colleges, and unless one counts the Lingerie Football League, no professional outlets exist. Alaska is the only other state that considers it a varsity sport.

“No one is saying flag football isn’t a great sport to play,” said Neena Chaudhry, the senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, which has brought several cases against high schools alleging violations of Title IX, the federal law mandating gender equity in education. “But I do think it’s relevant to ask questions about whether girls are getting the same kind of educational opportunities as boys.”

Florida does not recognize any boys’ sports that have the limited future beyond high school that flag football does.

The sport’s supporters say that such criticism misses the point. The aim of high school sports is to encourage students to develop healthy habits, athletic officials say, and few become college athletes. Supporters also ask for patience, saying the sport is still in its infancy.

“Soccer didn’t exist in the 1970s in most high schools for women,” said Bill Massey, the athletic director at Boca Raton High School. “That has all changed because of Title IX.”

Varsity flag football had its start in the 1990s, after the Florida Legislature required high schools to report athletic participation numbers. Mr. Massey and other athletic directors in Palm Beach County, facing a dearth of female athletes, considered sports like field hockey, lacrosse, water polo and badminton to increase participation, he said, but a survey of students favored flag football.

By the time the athletic association set up a state championship in flag football for the 2002-3 academic year, 75 high schools were fielding teams. Still, despite the addition of flag football and other sports like competitive cheerleading, which was added in 2007, the proportion of girls who participate in high school athletics in Florida has remained constant. In the 1997-98 school year, when schools began playing flag football, girls made up 41 percent of Florida’s high school athletes, according to the state association, compared with 42 percent in 2008-09.

Of course, girls can and do participate in a range of sports that are traditionally available to both boys and girls. But one advocate for women’s sports said that by recognizing sports like flag football, administrators were artificially pumping up girls’ participation numbers.

“It did not come from a groundswell,” said Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a Jacksonville law professor and three-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming, who sued the Florida association last year over a scheduling issue that she argued violated Title IX. The case was settled out of court. “It was done by school administrators, not by kids.”

Coaches disagree. Interest in flag football is so high, some high schools field freshman, junior and varsity squads and still make cuts. Its popularity has led to grumbling by coaches of other spring sports, who say they have lost their best athletes to flag football……..


May 15, 2010 - Posted by | Breaking News, Counterpoints, Education, Entertainment, Government, Media, PoliticalDog Calls, Sports, Updates, Women | , ,


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by James Finley. James Finley said: The New Florida Female High School Sport……Flag Football!: http://wp.me/pAL4p-2S5 […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention The New Florida Female High School Sport……Flag Football! « PoliticalDog101.com -- Topsy.com | May 15, 2010 | Reply

  2. I still hold a special place in my heart for field hockey, but I can see the LOW COST advantage to flag football

    Comment by Timothy Leal | May 16, 2010 | Reply

  3. The New York Times did not get the story right. See my response and Donna Lopiano’s response to the Times below.

    From: Nancy Hogshead-Makar
    Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 5:17 PM
    To: letters@nytimes.com
    Subject: Hogshead-Makar response re; Flag Football “No Tackling, but a Girls’ Sport Takes Some Hits” published on May 15

    To the Editor:
    Your article, “No Tackling, but a Girls’ Sport Takes Some Hits” took my comments out of context when they pitted myself, a gender equity advocate, against the sport of flag football and the girls playing the sport. How absurd. The real story was a harsh critique of the Florida High School Athletic Association and their failure to provide girls with equal educational opportunities, the test for Title IX compliance. Any sports association starting a regional sport that does not enjoy an existing infrastructure like soccer did in the 1980s is obligated to work cooperatively to provide girls with similar opportunities it provides its male athletes. For over 10 years, flag football players alone have lost out on the $1.5 billion annually in college scholarships and the abundant educational and economic benefits that research confirms flows from the competitive nature of varsity sports. Meanwhile, the FHSAA has yet to sponsor other popular girls’ sports, such as field hockey, crew, water polo, and archery.
    Of course Florida high school girls are enthusiastic about their sport; they’re starved for sports opportunities. Nationally, 50% of all high school students are provided with sports opportunities; Florida provides just 30% of which only 41% of this small pie goes to girls.
    No gender equity advocates are “hitting” flag football; its the FHSAA who should get tackled.

    Nancy Hogshead-Makar
    Professor of Law, Florida Coastal School of Law
    Senior Director of Advocacy, Women’s Sports Foundation

    From: Donna Lopiano [mailto:donna.lopiano@gmail.com]
    Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 9:17 AM
    To: letters@nytimes.com
    Subject: Flag Football: New York Times article by Katie Thomas, published on May 15

    To the Editor:
    RE: New York Times article by Katie Thomas, published on May 15
    I was accurately quoted as recommending that high school add flag football for girls but my remark was incorrectly juxtaposed to comments of others who maintained that flag football would not fulfill an institution’s Title IX obligations. My point was that the missing piece of the Title IX puzzle has been the lack of commitment by state and national governance associations, conferences and institutions to work together to expand opportunities for girls. If flag football for girls was added with these agencies acting in concert to solve the problem of simultaneously offering regular season and post season competition against other institutions offering these sports, such action would be consistent with Title IX requirements. Conferences and national governance associations consisting of member institutions that are recipients of federal funds, have the same Title IX obligations, to support member institution efforts to remedy historical discrimination and they should do so.
    Donna A. Lopiano, Ph.D.
    Sports Management Resources

    Donna Lopiano and I are saying the same thing — the sports governing bodies (high school athletic associations, college conferences) must work cooperatively in order for new girls’ sports like flag football to grow. We have a suspicion that a few sports organizations do just the opposite — they work cooperatively to limit sports opportunities for girls. Under the law, if there is no “reasonable expectation of competition” for a particular sport, a school is not obligated to start that sport, even if they have 1000 girls with lots of former experience in the sport, and lots of interest and enthusiasm for playing. If no school within the a college conference started flag football (or lacrosse or field hockey or crew — take your pick), any one particular member school would not be required to add that sport.
    The FHSAA is not doing so for the sport of flag football.

    I hope this clarifies. Regards, NHM

    Comment by Nancy Hogshead-Makar | May 21, 2010 | Reply

  4. […] our post……..link…..with the link to the original New York Times […]

    Pingback by A Response to the New York Times on the May 15 HS Female Flag football piece…… « PoliticalDog101.com | May 21, 2010 | Reply

  5. […] The New Florida Female High School Sport……Flag Football … […]

    Pingback by What to wear for dress clothes? | dress up bolg | May 29, 2010 | Reply

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