Women’s flag football will become a varsity sport for NAIA schools by 2021 after the organization announced a two-year partnership with the NFL and Reigning Champs Experiences.
With support from the NFL and Reigning Champs Experiences (RCX), the 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 in a statement Monday. “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 will host its first showcase open to female football athletes in late summer or early fall of this year. The first competitive season is expected to be held in the spring of 2021.
“Increasing female participation in flag football has been a top priority for NFL FLAG,” RCX president and general manager Izell Reese said. “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 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 schools, while an invitational is at least 25. A sport must have a minimum of 40 participating institutions to be considered for full championship status.