The AHSAA is adding a new sport: girls flag football.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association announced a partnership with the Atlanta Falcons, NFL FLAG — the league’s noncontact program with more than 500,000 athletes — and Nike at the conclusion of its annual Principals’ and Athletic Directors’ conference.
In addition to the Super 7 championship games scheduled for later this year in Birmingham, a flag football title will be awarded as well.
“It gives our young ladies something to be involved with,” said Alvin Briggs, AHSAA associate executive director and head of football. “… We’re in the 100th year of the (AHSAA) and we’re still fighting for more sports. We’re giving our young ladies a chance to compete for a championship.”
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Atlanta and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, named after the Falcons’ owner, started the initiative in Georgia in 2018. Georgia soon became one of four states to sanction the sport. Alabama will now join its neighboring state along with Alaska, Nevada and Florida this fall.
Alabama was one of the first states that the Falcons and NFL FLAG reached out to, said Amanda Dinkel, Atlanta’s manager of community relations. Talks started in 2020, and the AHSAA central board approved the decision in January. Nike and the Blank Family Foundation will be providing apparel to the AHSAA for teams.
Central-Phenix High contemplated a club team last season, anticipating 15-20 players would try out. Instead, 150 showed up, providing just one example of how momentum built for girls flag football in recent years throughout the state.
“We had the same interest in Georgia when we launched,” said Chris Millman, the Falcons’ vice president of community relations. “That’s when we knew we had something here. We just needed to give these girls an opportunity to play.”