Through Support of the Atlanta Falcons and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation
ATLANTA (December 18, 2019) – Following the Atlanta Falcons and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s commitment and support of girls high school flag football, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) will make girls flag football a sanctioned sport in the state of Georgia in 2020.
In response to the alarming low number of girls’ sports offered in Georgia in 2018, the Atlanta Falcons and the Blank Foundation approached Gwinnett County Public Schools, the largest county in Georgia, to pilot and fully fund a girls high school flag football program with each of their 19 high schools. As a result, hundreds of girls tried out in the first year bringing the attention of other schools to the program.
In 2019, with complete funding by the Atlanta Falcons and the Blank Foundation, five additional counties implemented girls high school flag football in their schools, totaling six participating counties including: Cherokee, Forsyth, Gwinnett, Henry, Muscogee and Rockdale with a total of 52 high schools across the six counties.
“We knew the need for more girls’ sports in Georgia was there, and that was enough for us to get started,” says Atlanta Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay. “The goal was always to get this program to become an officially sanctioned sport and give girls more opportunities to play sports in high schools and we are thrilled that the GHSA shared the same vision. It’s an exciting time for high school sports in Georgia.”
The 2020 announcement comes as the Falcons host the 2019 Girls Flag Football Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the second consecutive year. McKay, Troy Vincent, executive vice president of football operations for the NFL, and Chris Millman, vice president of community relations for the Atlanta Falcons were on hand to make the announcement.
“We celebrate the Atlanta Falcons’ and Blank family’s extraordinary commitment to inclusion in youth sports which clearly shows that football has a place for everyone,” says Vincent. “State sanctioning of girls flag football means that more girls will have the opportunity to experience the comradery, fun and life transforming values offered by this great game.”
The Falcons and the Blank Foundation remain dedicated to growing youth sports around the state year-round by hosting several initiatives targeted around promoting youth health and wellness. A few of these include youth football camps and coaching clinics, a Moms Football Academy – providing helpful information to moms who have children interested in football – and a continued partnership with the NFL around the Play 60 program and the NFL Youth Flag Football Leagues that target both boys and girls ages 5-17 interested in the game.
“Seeing the positive influence this sport has on the players and the community is inspiring. The girls stand tall with pride and enthusiasm while receiving recognition from their families and friends in the stands,” says Amanda Dinkel, manager, community relations, Atlanta Falcons. “We see the organic growth of the sport through their desire to play and we are honored to have brought this opportunity to our communities and hope to continue this forward momentum bringing the sport to other states.”
In 2020, all Georgia high schools will be able to select girls flag football as a chosen sport for their schools. For more information, please go to https://www.ghsa.net/ to contact a GHSA representative.