Cottey College President Dr. Jann Weitzel announced the College would add women’s flag football to its competitive athletic programs this coming year. Cottey College will be the first women’s college in the country and the first college in the State of Missouri to add women’s flag football to its athletic lineup.
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).
“We are proud to announce that Cottey is one of the founding institutions to declare its intent to launch a women’s flag football program on campus in the 2020-2021 academic year,” said Dr. Weitzel.
“Women’s flag football is an up-and-coming sport in America,” Dr. Weitzel continued. “We’re very excited to be on the leading edge of this sport and to give young women from around the country an opportunity to showcase their talents and grow academically.”
Four states have officially sanctioned girls’ flag football: Alaska, Florida, Georgia, and Nevada. Florida alone has over 250 teams and Georgia has 163 teams scheduled to play this fall. According to a 2018 New York Times article, participation across co-ed flag football increased by 45 percent in five years.
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.
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.
Cottey has partnered with Nevada High School for the use of facilities. The Comets flag football team will play its games on the NHS football field.
“We’re very fortunate to have a great partner with the Nevada R-V Schools,” said Stephanie Beason. “The Nevada High School swim teams have trained at Cottey and our Comets track team has trained at Nevada High School. We appreciate our good neighbor relationship with them.”
“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 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.
ABOUT NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS (NAIA)
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, is a governing body of small athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics. NAIA members provide more than 77,000 student-athletes with opportunities to play college sports, earn $800 million in scholarships and compete in 27 national championships. www.naia.org| @NAIA
ABOUT REIGNING CHAMPS EXPERIENCES (RCX)
Reigning Champs Experiences (RCX) is the premier youth-sports experiences business, running and operating leagues, camps, combines, tournaments and events across the U.S.
Part of Reigning Champs LLC, RCX works with professional leagues, national governing bodies, sports-centric businesses and brands to reimagine youth sports experiences. RCX produces events with world class partners including the NFL, NBA, Rivals, and adidas.
Reigning Champs is committed to growing youth sports participation and creating a path to college for all students. In 2019, Reigning Champs’ family of businesses donated $23 million in services to deserving student-athletes and families. Each year, Reigning Champs’ innovative platforms support over 2 million athletes across 34 different sports. For more information, visit reigningchamps.com.