BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Girls flag football is coming to New York State this Spring.
According to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA), the pilot program has officially launched and competition will take place in a few months. Funds have been provided by the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, and New York Jets to allow 48 schools across six sections to begin their programs.
“This is an historic day for the NYSPHSAA as we are able to initiate something in our state that has never been done before thanks to a partnership with the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants and New York Jets,” said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director in a press release. “The NFL’s commitment to promoting flag football is truly appreciated and will be critical to the success of future programs."
In addition to the donations made by the three NFL teams, Nike donated $100,000 which will be divided evenly across the participating sections to pay for uniforms and other equipment.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to increase participation within our association, so when the NFL clubs reached out to us, they had launched this program at the middle school level in some states, and at the high school level particularly New Jersey," NYSPHSAA assistant director, Todd Nelson said via Zoom Thursday afternoon.
Section VI will have 12 WNY schools participating this season:
- Amherst High School
- Buffalo Academy of Science
- Depew High School
- Frontier High School
- Hamburg High School
- Iroquois High School
- Niagara Falls High School
- North Tonawanda High School
- Orchard Park High School
- Sweet Home High School
- West Seneca East High School
- West Seneca West High School
Exciting news for our Panthers! We will be offering a NEW spring sport -- GIRLS FLAG FOOTBALL 👀💯👀💯— SHCSDAthletics (@SHCSDAthletics) February 2, 2022
Who's ready for some football????@SHPantherEye @SHSCentral @SweetHomeHSFB @bufnewspreptalk @PatrickJNagy @MikeGinestre @BuffaloBills https://t.co/KpSW4P5ubW@NYSPHSAA pic.twitter.com/3Gl0RzmC3c
Teams will play 6-8 games and the season will end in late May.
“Anytime we can get student athletes active, studies have shown that it increases their attendance, it increases their academic success, it decreases their behavioral issues. It increased the sense of pride that you have for your school district and your school, and the camaraderie with your peers is all a benefit," Nelson said. “Anything that we can do so increase participation. We’re working on girls wrestling. We offered unified sports a few years ago and that’s been a big success. Our association is always open to new opportunities for our student athletes.”