KANSAS CITY -- Women's flag football is set to become an official NAIA varsity sport.
Thanks to a two-year partnership with the NFL and Reigning Champs Experiences (RCX), the NAIA will look to add women's flag football by 2021, the NFL announced in a media release on Monday. The NAIA will become the first collegiate athletics association to govern women's flag football competition.
“Football is for everyone,” NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent said in the NFL's release. “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.”
RCX, which runs and operates leagues, camps, combines, tournaments and events across the United States, will assist the NAIA in launcing operations. RCX will help the NAIA host showcases to increase female participation. Those showcases are scheduled for later this summer or early fall.
”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 work immediately to build the infrastructure and outline competition guidelines to hold its first competitive season of women's flag football in the spring of 2021 with plans to host an "emerging sport or invitational championship in the spring of 2022," according to the release. "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."
The NAIA will also immediately start to create the steps for schools and conferences interested in adding women's flag football. Montana's NAIA schools -- Carroll College, Montana State-Northern, Montana Tech, Montana Western, Rocky Mountain College and University of Providence -- compete in the Frontier Conference and Cascade Collegiate Conference, depending on the sport. Of Montana's six NAIA schools, only Providence doesn't currently have a football program.
The 2020 NAIA football season is slated to start this August. The championship, scheduled for Dec. 19 at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium at Grambling University in Grambling, La., will be sponsored by the NFL.