Rules finalized for CIF girls’ flag football but plenty of questions remain

They rose as one, a group of about 20 high school girls standing in front of the Irvine Unified School District Board of Education, each raising a piece of paper with a different word scribbled.

Equality. Opportunity. Hope. Empowered. Badass. All showing, as University High junior Leah Schulman announced to the board via public comment March 14, what playing flag football meant to them. An emphatic demonstration, designed to nudge the board toward passing applications for flag football programs at Irvine high schools such as Woodbridge and University.

“Now,” said University coach Justin Schulman, “at least they know we’re watching.”

And for the kicker, Schulman invited members of a local youth team to speak. A handful of elementary school girls, each carrying custom-made signs they presented to the board.

“I love flag football — let us play,” one read, in a tone that would melt even the most frozen of hearts.

As such community showings of support grow for girls’ flag football — Oak Park High holding an interest meeting March 29 that drew dozens, coaching hires becoming official at schools around the Southland — the CIF took another massive step toward an uncharted future Wednesday, distributing a flag football rulebook to member sections.

Individual sections can evaluate interested programs and districts to set up schedules. The City Section currently has three dozen schools committed to playing, according to sports information director Dick Dornan. Paula Hart Rodas, president-elect of the Southern Section council, said they’d likely know a full list of participating teams by July.

Each step forward, though, brings another wave of questions. Here are some of the latest developments.

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