Carolina Panthers team with WCPSS to bring flag football to 19 high schools

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Thursday, November 23, 2023
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CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Nineteen Wake County high schools will be playing girls flag football thanks to the Carolina Panthers.

A $47,500 grant from Carolina Panthers Charities will help launch the pilot program.

The Board of Education accepted the grant at its Tuesday night meeting.

Tryouts and practices will be held in January. The playing season in the pilot year will consist of three Saturday tournament-style competitions.

"This grant will give hundreds of female students a fun and unique opportunity to reap the many benefits of participating in athletics," says Deran Coe, director of athletics for the Wake County Public School System. "Athletics promote teamwork, sportsmanship, and physical fitness, all of which can lead to better outcomes for students in high school and beyond.

In 2022, the Panthers partnered with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to launch the state's first girls high school flag football program. This fall, the Panthers helped launch programs with Cabarrus County Schools and Union County Public Schools.

"We are grateful to Carolina Panthers Charities for their generosity, and we look forward to partnering with them to encourage students to join the fun of flag football," Coe said.

The grant includes money to cover game officials, coaching stipends, field prep, and other game-related expenses.

The Panthers are also providing each high school with 25 sets of custom-made Nike uniforms plus practice equipment.

"The Carolina Panthers are thrilled to partner with the Wake County Public School System in the creation of this pilot Girls High School Flag Football League, which will provide increased participation opportunities and access to the sport of football for high school girls in Wake County," said Riley Fields, director of community relations for the Panthers. "Our hope is the success of the Wake County program will be a catalyst for the continued growth and participation by high schools across our region. We are excited for all the Wake County student-athletes who will have the opportunity to compete for their schools and benefit from the program."