Texas Wesleyan University’s athletic department is proud to announce its feasibility study into women’s flag football starting this fall with the hope of hiring a coach next summer and beginning competition in 2023-24. With the successful launch of a girls' varsity flag football league by Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD), we can clearly see there is interest in this sport.
“Texas Wesleyan University is excited about the possibilities women’s flag football brings to our campus,” said President Frederick G. Slabach. “It’s not just about overall growth and providing more opportunities for the collegiate athletic experience — it’s about opening the door for more students to fulfill their dream of higher education.”
Before the launch of every new athletic program, Texas Wesleyan conducts a feasibility study that assesses interest, scholarship opportunities which are governed by the NAIA, and opportunities for competition in our area before committing to hiring a coach and building a team.
“I applaud FWISD for being one of the first in Texas to launch women’s high school flag football,” said Ricky Dotson, athletic director. “I’m optimistic that other college programs are going to see what Texas Wesleyan sees — women want to compete in this sport. We consistently evaluate and plan opportunities for participation for women student-athletes and this feels like a huge opportunity for us to continue with that vision.”
Texas Wesleyan has added several scholarship sports since 2012: Women’s golf in 2012, women’s tennis in 2015, men’s tennis in 2017, football in 2017, and men’s and women’s wrestling in 2019. The University continues to look to the future and just announced the start of a new women’s beach volleyball team with the hiring of a coach this fall. In the foreseeable future, the University is also planning to look at the feasibility of women’s lacrosse.
“This is a perfect example of college athletics working hand-in-hand with admissions and retention by enhancing the student experience,” said Alan Liebrecht, vice president of enrollment, marketing and communication. “Many of our first-generation students come from Fort Worth ISD. Our small-community approach with one-on-one mentoring provides a nurturing environment where these students can thrive.”
The start of women’s flag football in 2020 was a joint effort between the NAIA and the NFL. Within months of the NAIA announcing its newest sport, women’s flag football developed enough interest to earn “emerging” status, which requires 15 teams to launch a program with intent to participate the following year. This progress was historically fast for the NAIA. Women’s flag football is looking to quickly reach invitational status, requiring 25 teams, and finally to become a champion sport, requiring a minimum of 40 schools.