Just yesterday, the NFL announced that 15 colleges have already committed to starting programs. The new sport will create new full scholarship opportunities for women who start competing in the spring of 2021.
“We have just completed 100 years of football,” said Troy Vincent, executive vice president of football operations for the NFL. “Well, this is an example of what the next 100 years of football might look like. Women are leading the effort, not just as fans, not just as moms supporting their boys. Now young women could really compete and win a scholarship like them. have seen their brothers and fathers do it for so many years.
NFL Flag and RCX will support NAIA in the development of the league infrastructure, which is unknown territory for the governing body. NAIA says it will be the first women’s flag football competition to be led by a college athletics association.
Quarter of the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson, was recently named president of NFL FLAG, the official NFL football league, and the largest youth flag football organization in the United States.
“I am very excited to be part of this trip here,” Wilson told CNN. “In partnership with the NFL, the NFL Flag and the RCX, it’s really exciting … Football is going to be a world sport and it should be a great sport for women and for them to be leaders in this sport And I think it’s great about that, that we’re not only expanding the game, but also the access for all women in all sports. And I think it’s really exciting. It’s revolutionary. “
Toni Harris is currently a defensive back for Central Methodist University, a NAIA school in Fayetteville, Missouri. She was one of the few women to compete with and against men at the college level. In 2019, Harris became the first woman to receive a full football scholarship to play a college skill position. She believes that this development is much more important than football.
“I think he says that the future of football is female. I think he says that, you know, women will have a chance,” Harris told CNN. “I wish I was still in high school, being able to go back and, you know, sign up for a sports grant to play flag football because not only does it open doors for girls to compete at college level, but it opens more doors for maybe the NFL someday starting WNFL … I wouldn’t be competing with the guys, but I can only take what I have right now, you know. And so, I mean, it means so much to me to be able to see these girls finally get the chances we wanted for so long. “
Laura Courtney-Todd has been Sporting Director of St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida since 2000. She was twice named Sun Conference Sports Director of the Year, most recently in 2018. Her school will be one of the first to offer women’s football because, she says, the demand exists.
“Title 9 is obviously a big reason why flag football started in high school,” Courtney-Todd told CNN. “But I think what they found out was that women were really interested in this sport and often they gave up their traditional sport and only played flag football. That’s why we see such a great potential in this sport. “
Competition guidelines and start-up procedures for schools wishing to establish flag football as a competitive sport are being developed. NAIA will work with NFL Flag and RCX to determine next steps.
“They say that within two to three years, 30 to 40 schools could potentially get involved. If they reach 40 schools offering women’s football, it’s between eight and twelve million dollars in scholarships, which is incredible, “said RCX. President and CEO, Izell Reese. “It’s going to be phenomenal to watch him grow.”
Reese is a former NFL player who believes that women’s football can thrive to the highest levels of competition – even the Olympics one day. He says athletes will continue to stimulate the growth of the sport.
“They are committed, talented, passionate about sport. You see all these girls on the field. I mean, these girls are for real. They are serious about this. Their passion and the energy of these young women who play this sport the game is what drives him. “