The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) officially announced women's flag football as an emerging sport in a joint effort with the NFL and Reigning Champs Experiences (RCX).
"This is an exciting time for the NJCAA and particularly the advancement of female opportunities in our association," said Dr. Christopher Parker, NJCAA President & CEO. "As the first national collegiate athletic association in the United States to integrate women's athletics, this is another major milestone in the association's history."
Through the partnership, the NFL will provide a $150,000 grant to the NJCAA Foundation for distribution to NJCAA member colleges that declare their intent to participate in the sport over the next two years. The foundation, along with the NFL and RCX, will award $10,000 grants to 15 member colleges to move the initiative a step closer towards becoming a full championship sport over the next few years.
"The expansion of women's flag football as a varsity sport at the two-year college level is yet another historic achievement for women's collegiate sports," said Troy Vincent, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations. "We are excited to partner with the NJCAA in providing the opportunity for female student-athletes to experience the tremendous values, life benefits, and competition that comes with playing football."
RCX will assist the NJCAA in developing awareness and a framework of the sport within the women's flag football industry. Through its efforts and collaboration with the NFL, RCX has contributed to the rapid growth of women's flag football throughout the country.
"For so many young girls in flag football, the idea of playing the game they love in college has seemed like an impossible dream," said Izell Reese, Executive Director of NFL FLAG and GM of RCX. "RCX and NFL FLAG have been working hard to make that dream a reality and we're proud to work with the NJCAA to help create a viable path for female athletes to potentially earn a scholarship to complete at the collegiate level and earn a degree."
Following the granting of emerging sports status, the NJCAA will proceed with forming the women's flag football sport committee to begin the creation of the sport's guidelines and competition structure. NFL FLAG and RCX will continue to assist the committee and NJCAA with the intent of starting competition in the spring of 2022.
NJCAA members who begin a women's flag football program will have the opportunity to compete against other members, in addition to various invitational events managed by RCX. A national championship event and full-sport status will be granted with the increased number of participating institutions.