The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

IHSA will hold flag football as an official sport for the upcoming 2024-25 school year

Ash Magalhaes

Starting fall 2024, girls flag football will be an official athletic program through the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) State Series. IHSA will conduct its inaugural postseason, culminating in a state championship.

IHSA decision 

Girls flag football has been an emerging sport the past three years.

“We have been watching its interest and its participation levels within the state of Illinois,” IHSA Assistant Executive Director Tracie Henry said. “[we have been looking for] the amount of girls that were interested in participating and how many teams we would have.”

As members of the IHSA noticed popularity for the sport was growing, in a regular meeting on Feb. 5, 2024, the IHSA Board of Directors approved girls flag football to be an official IHSA sport.

The IHSA’s membership of 727 highschools voted to determine how many schools were interested in creating flag football programs for their school. The Journal Star, the major daily newspaper for Peoria, Illinois and its surrounding area, states that of this vote, 464 schools were in favor; of the other 263 schools, 82 voted against and 181 remained absent.

According to the official IHSA website, “the [IHSA] membership consists of public, private, charter, magnet, university, religious, collegiate preparatory, selective enrollment and career academy high schools, in addition to a school for the deaf and a school for the visually impaired.”

Libertyville High School’s Athletic Director, Mr. John Woods, explained the possible reason for the absentee schools.

“Several that abstain[ed], could be because they’re probably smaller schools that don’t have the facility or the number of kids [to create a program]. Or it could even be an all boys school. These could be the possible reasons to abstain from the vote.” Mr. Woods said.

Mr. Woods himself was a representative for Libertyville High School in this vote. He, on the behalf of the entire school, voted in support of this decision.

Now that it is an official sport through IHSA, the association will be required to sort through the details required to create a state series.

“I will be charged with finding sites for regionals, sectionals and the state final for us to hold our championship. [I will] also be reviewing and working out their board in conjunction for the RFP process and looking to select a state final site for us to host our championship” Ms. Henri said.

Beginning May 1, 2024, those who wish to be officially licensed to officiate IHSA flag football can begin to do so.

“Right now we think we have about 45 flag football officials, and we’re gonna need around 96 to run our state series,” Henri said.

LHS administration response

Additionally, in preparation for the upcoming school year, Libertyville High School has begun searching for a coach.

“First, we had to discuss where this falls under the umbrella of stipends,” Mr. Woods said. “So once that was approved, then we pushed out to our staff, ‘Anybody interested?’”

Many staff members responded by saying that they would be interested in having a position as an assistant coach. However, none expressed interested in the head coach position.

“So, we pushed out a questionnaire to five head coach candidates, and they were asked to respond to several questions,” Mr. Woods said. “That was step one of our interview process.”

The second step is the interview process on Tuesday, April 30th.

“[At the interview], each candidate will have the opportunity to present themselves to our interview team and [discuss] why they should be the first Libertyville High School girls flag football coach,” Mr. Woods said.

LHS Interest

Through a google form, which was sent out by the athletic department, 115 girls responded with interest in the fall sport. 27 of them showed up to the interest meeting that Mr. Woods held in the morning.

“I was excited to see 27 [girls] at 7:45 in the morning. That was really cool.” Mr. Woods said.

According to Mr. Woods, they will take as many girls as possible to join the team. Depending on how many students demonstrate actual interest, there is a discussion on creating a junior varsity team in the future.

One of the 115 girls who showed interest was Junior Jana Abdelrahman. She’s currently a varsity lacrosse player, who saw the google form in her email and decided to sign up right away.

“I was like, this sounds so exciting, especially to be able to play for a full season,” Abdelrahman said. “It sounds like such a fun sport. I just wish it was actual football.”

Additionally, Abdelrahman said half her current varsity lacrosse team has signed up to participate in flag football in the fall.


“The opportunity for girls in this building is pretty incredible,” Mr. Woods said. “I’m excited to see what this fall brings.”

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