Women’s flag football is on its way to becoming an official National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) varsity sport by 2021, thanks to a two-year partnership between the NAIA, the National Football League (NFL) and Reigning Champs Experiences (RCX).
With support from NFL FLAG and RCX, NAIA will work to develop league infrastructure and operations for the first women’s flag football competition governed by a collegiate athletics association.
“Football is for everyone,” NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent said. “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.”
As the official operating partner of NFL FLAG and the NAIA Showcases, RCX will help facilitate women’s collegiate flag football across the NAIA and drive participation through women’s flag football NAIA Showcases. The NAIA will host its first Showcase open to female football athletes in the late summer or early fall of 2020.
“Increasing female participation in flag football has been a top priority for NFL FLAG,” said Izell Reese, RCX President and General Manager. “By teaming up with the NAIA, we’re able to create even more opportunities for young women to continue the sport they love, and potentially receive scholarships to continue their education and compete at the next level.”
”The NAIA is thrilled to partner with the NFL and RCX in launching women’s flag football,” said Jim Carr, NAIA president and CEO. “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.”
The NAIA will begin working with NFL FLAG and RCX immediately to outline competition guidelines and next steps for schools and conferences interested in instituting women’s flag. The first competitive season will be held in the spring of 2021.
The NAIA will host an emerging sport or invitational championship in the spring of 2022. An emerging sport in the NAIA is defined as at least 15 participating institutions, while invitational can be defined as at least 25. A sport must have a minimum of 40 participating institutions to be considered for full championship status.
In addition to the women’s flag football initiative, the NFL will serve the presenting sponsor of the 2020 NAIA Football National Championship, scheduled for Saturday, December 19 at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium at Grambling University in Grambling, La.