NFL, NAIA join forces to launch women’s flag football as a college sport

The NFL and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, NAIA, are making progress towards having women’s flag football become a sanctioned college sport.

Last week, the two organizations announced their future plans to make women’s flag football a college sport by 2021.

NFL Vice President Troy Vincent:

“Football is for everyone. This groundbreaking and historic joint venture provides an opportunity for the values, fun and competitive environment of football to be enjoyed as a varsity sport by female student-athletes attending NAIA institutions across America.”

The NAIA said in a release that it plans to start the first women’s college flag football season in the spring of 2021. A showcase will be held in the fall for prospective athletes looking to join a school’s flag football team.

For women’s flag football to be classified as an emerging sport by the NAIA, at least 15 member schools will need to field teams while an “invitational championship” is held for sports that have at least 25 participants. A minimum of 40 schools need to have teams for a full championship to be held. The NAIA said it wanted to host an emerging sport championship in 2022.

NAIA President Jim Carr:

”The NAIA is thrilled to partner with the NFL and [Reigning Champs Experiences] in launching women’s flag football. This is a fantastic opportunity for our members to expand their athletics programming with support from valuable partners like RCX and one of the most relevant and successful professional sports leagues in the world.”

More women and girls have expressed interest in playing football in recent years even as overall participation in tackle football has declined. While tackle football participation has gone down, the number of kids playing flag football has gone up as the NFL has promoted its co-ed flag football options more.

A 2018 New York Times article stated that participation in the NFL’s flag football program had increased by nearly 50 percent in the previous five years.

Sources: Associated Press, Yahoo Sports, CBS Sports





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