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King will offer flag football for women from 2025/26

Employee reports

BRISTOL, Tennessee – Women’s flag football is coming to King University.

With the expansion for the 2025-26 school year, King will be the first NCAA school in Tennessee to sanction the sport at the collegiate level, which is now sponsored by Conference Carolinas and is a championship sport. It was also recently approved as a varsity sport by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA).

“Women's flag football is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and we are excited to offer this opportunity to our students,” said David Hicks, vice president of athletics at King University, in a press release. “The opportunity to partner with our counterparts in Conference Carolinas to provide an immediate championship opportunity will enhance the experience of our players and make women's flag football one of the premier sports on campus.”

Flag football is the most inclusive and accessible format of football, played by people of all ages and genders, and has some of the fastest-growing female athletes in the sport – something that has caught the attention of USA Football, the NFL and its teams, including the Tennessee Titans.

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“After having relatively few opportunities to expose young women to football in Tennessee, to have it recognized as a TSSAA championship and an NCAA sport in our state is an incredible accomplishment for everyone involved,” said Josh Corey, senior director of cause marketing for the Tennessee Titans. “We wish King University and Conference Carolinas the best as they bring this championship to the college stage.”

This sport is King's 29th new addition to the varsity team, with the Tornados' first competitive season scheduled for spring 2026.

Teams consist of seven members wearing attached flag belts with grommets and two pop flags on either side of the hips. Players compete on a 40-by-80-yard field for four quarters of 12 minutes each. Teams receive 6 points for a touchdown and can receive an additional 1-2 points for a standard play from the 5- or 10-yard line. The offense has 4 attempts to cross midfield and 4 attempts to score. If they fail, teams give possession to their opponent, who begins at their own 5-yard line.

The Tornados will play on their own field at King's brand new track and field complex, completed this spring, and will be one of only six conference schools to sponsor the sport. The NCAA hopes to establish women's flag football as a championship sport by 2028, coinciding with its inclusion in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“More than twenty thousand players participated in girls' flag football at the high school level in 2023, about a third more than last year,” Hicks said. “As usual, Conference Carolinas is leading the way as the first NCAA Division II conference to sponsor women's flag football, and King is excited to take an early leadership role in this effort.”

Emmanuel, Chowan, Ferrum, the league's 2005-26 newcomer, Lees-McRae and Mount Olive will join King as charter members and offer the sport.

A national search for a head coach is currently underway, and King is also assembling its first team. Anyone interested in participating as a player or coach should email [email protected].