The Detroit Lions are making history by spearheading the first-ever Michigan girls high school flag football pilot league. This announcement comes after the team’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, Brad Holmes, made a powerful statement by rocking a hoodie emblazoned with “Support Women and Girls in Sports” under the Lions logo during a pre-draft press conference in April.
The inaugural teams are from Madison Heights Bishop Foley High School, Holly High School, Lapeer High School, and Rochester Community Schools. The league kicked off this past weekend.
A League with a Purpose
As part of their commitment to expanding opportunities for female athletes, the Detroit Lions Football Education team has taken the lead in establishing this groundbreaking league. “Getting girls into the game of football is a huge priority both for us and the NFL,” said Executive Director of Football Education Chris Fritzsching. “One of the goals of this pilot league is to generate further interest – we know it exists already – and open the opportunity for growth. Starting with this proof of concept and expanding the number of schools participating next year would be the next step to getting girls high school flag football to become a recognized interscholastic sport in Michigan.”
The pilot league serves multiple purposes. It not only encourages girls to participate in the sport, but also helps create a solid foundation for future growth. With more interest generated in girls flag football, the hope is that more schools will see the value of the sport and be encouraged to establish their own teams.
In Good Company
Michigan is following in the footsteps of eight other states that have already sanctioned girls high school flag football as a sport. These states have seen the positive impact this sport can have on female athletes and the importance of providing equal opportunities for both boys and girls in the world of sports. By launching this pilot league, Michigan is taking a proactive approach to ensure girls have the same opportunities to participate in football as boys do.
Support from Industry Giants
Nike and USA Football have joined the cause by providing uniforms and equipment for the pilot league. This support not only highlights the importance of the initiative but also demonstrates the commitment of these industry giants to the growth of girls flag football across the nation. Their involvement sends a strong message about the future of the sport and its potential for expansion in other states as well.
The Chosen Four
The participating schools, coached by their football coaching staffs, were selected based on their existing flag programs or strong interest in starting one. This initiative marks the first of its kind at the high school level in Michigan. The Detroit Lions Football Education team has created the Girls Flag Football Rule Book, which will be modified as needed to cater to the evolving needs of student-athletes and coaches.
Schools interested in joining the league in 2024 and beyond can complete the “Intent to Participate” form at www.DetroitLions.com/girlsflag. Upon receipt, the Detroit Lions Foundation will reach out to Michigan high schools about potential grant opportunities to launch their girls flag football teams.
The pilot league offers an exciting opportunity for these schools to be part of a pioneering initiative, setting the stage for others to follow in their footsteps.
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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