NEW YORK (AP) — The American Flag Football League is adding a women’s division and will have the same $200,000 prize for both its men’s and women’s champions.
“We are proud to make Flag the first sport to institute pay equity from day one,” CEO and founder Jeffrey Lewis said Wednesday. “How could we even consider playing football without a level playing field?”
Adrienne Smith will oversee football operations and corporate partnership development for the women’s division. Michelle Roque will handle social media for the league and marketing for the women’s division.
Smith led the Boston Renegades to national titles in 2011, 2014 and 2019. Both she and Roque represent Team USA on the Female Flag Football team and are advisers on the new women’s division.
The AFFL has had former NFL and Division I football players along with Olympic athletes and others play since 2016. The league has about 150 teams overall in its men’s division, and both men’s and women’s finals are set to wrap up by the end of August.
The first women’s tournament will have eight teams with two qualifiers for spots in the field.
Nike and the NFL announced last week a commitment of $5 million in equipment to help expand girls’ flag football in high schools. The investment is a multiyear plan starting with a one-time donation up to $100,000 in gear to state athletic associations offering girls’ flag football as a high school sport or making progress with a pilot program this year.
Florida is the first state to get a grant and has been promoting girls’ flag football for more than a decade. Only five other states sanction high school flag football for girls: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and New York.
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