MADISON- Girls athletics has scored a touchdown in Alabama. In partnership with the Atlanta Falcons and NFL FLAG, the AHSAA has chosen to offer girls flag football as a sanctioned sport later this fall for the 2021-2022 school year.
The AHSAA Central Board approved the sport with the season beginning in September and will culminate in December with a championship game at the 2021 Super 7 State High School Football Championships in Birmingham.
“We are excited to be adding this girls’ sport for our membership. We think it will grow rapidly,” said Alvin Briggs, Associate Executive Director, who oversees the sport of football for the AHSAA.
The AHSAA currently offers sports competition in 13 girls’ sports and 13 boys’ sports.
Alabama has become the fifth state to sanction the sport alongside Georgia, Florida, Alaska and Nevada with Metro School Systems from both New York City and District of Columbia also joining in. Some states offer flag football and girls are allowed to participate with boys.
The AHSAA will receive funding along with support provided by the Atlanta Falcons, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and NFL FLAG.
NFL FLAG has been leading the charge to help expand women’s flag football across the U.S. at the youth, high school and collegiate levels. NFL FLAG will work as strategic partner with the Falcons, AHSAA and Nike to lead coaching clinics, develop competition guidelines, and establish a framework for high schools interested in instituting girls’ flag football in Alabama.
“We are thrilled to see girls’ flag football continue to expand outside of Georgia. The goal has always been to grow the game,” said Rich McKay, Atlanta Falcons President and CEO. “We look forward to seeing how far and wide we can expand the game of girls’ flag football together.”
In Georgia, the Atlanta Falcons and Blank Family Foundation began the pilot program where hundreds of girls responded and helped kickoff the barrage of action throughout Georgia and other states. In addition to the monetary support, Nike will provide girls flag apparel to assist the AHSAA with launching girls’ flag football throughout Alabama.
Izell Reese, NFL FLAG Executive Director, is a native Alabamian who attended Northview High School of Dothan, said, “I am especially proud to help bring girls’ flag football to my home state of Alabama. I’m grateful to be in a position that creates more opportunities for youth athletes to participate in football.”
Athletic directors from schools across the state of Alabama indicated the decision to add flag football is a huge score and victory for girls’ athletics and has helped put points on the scoreboard to encourage more girls to get involved in high school athletics.