NEVADA, Mo. — Cottey College has announced the addition of women’s flag football to their list of competitive athletic programs for the 2020-21 school year.
The college will be the first women’s college in the country, and the first college in the state of Missouri to add the sport at the varsity level.
“We want to be in the forefront of this. We want to be part of that groundbreaking experience,” Cottey College Athletic Director Stephanie Beason said. “That’s really something that we’ve kind of advertised a lot. We are the first women’s college jumping into women’s flag football. So with our background of leadership and women empowerment, then I just think that fits perfectly into what Cottey does.”
Women’s flag football is expected to become a NAIA sanctioned sport next school year. Beason said three teams in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference have announced they will have flag football teams. Cottey is currently a member of the Association of Independent Institutions, a conference within the NAIA, but that having three schools within three hours of Nevada will make scheduling games easier.
The school hopes to schedule six games for the first season, with the hope that 10 to 12 games can be scheduled in the years to follow.
The team will play their games at Nevada’s Logan Field.
“In discussion with Mr. (John) McNeley, the Athletic Director at Nevada High School, he is graciously allowing us to use their football stadium for our home events,” Beason said.
Games will be played in the spring, and won’t interfere with the high school football team schedule. Beason hopes to build some hype around the new team.
“We don’t have men’s football, so we can kind of play this up and act like it is our men’s football program in that sense. Dr. (Kristina) Adams, who is the Vice President for Student Life has talked about adding Homecoming stuff into play with Virgina Alice Cottey’s birthday and Founders Weekend and stuff like that. So it’ll be a great opportunity for us and something unique that a lot of other institutions can’t offer,” Beason said.
The team will be lead by Madeline Culbertson, a Nevada High School graduate and former William Jewell softball player.
“Being from Nevada I’m really happy to come back to Cottey and to help coach the sport and guide young ladies into collegiate athletics with something they’ve wanted to do their whole life,” Culbertson said.
Even as she leads her team, she too will be learning.
“I’m definitely studying the rules a lot. I’m going to be watching some film with my assistant coach, and I’m really excited to get to know the game a little bit more.”
She added that the team has already had four athletes apply to play, with another five interested and ready to start the application process. The hope is to have anywhere between 10 to 12 athletes on the team in its first year.