FlagFootballPressConference-10.31.2023-06 (1)Siena Heights University is proud to announce the addition of women’s flag football, a new varsity program that will begin competition during the 2024-25 school year.

Siena Heights President Dr. Douglas Palmer and athletic director Sue Syljebeck helped usher in the new era of women’s flag during a conference on Wednesday, November 1, at the SHU Fieldhouse.

Women’s flag football, which is played in the spring, is an emerging sport in the NAIA. A total of 23 schools are set to compete during the 2024 NAIA season. Siena Heights plans to begin its inaugural season in Spring 2025. After the announcement on November 1, Siena Heights became the first NAIA school in Michigan to adopt a women’s flag football program. It is also the first school among others in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference and the Mid-States Football Association to sponsor the sport.


“We are thrilled to be the first university in Michigan to offer a flag football program,” said Siena Heights University President Dr. Douglas B. Palmer. “This is an exciting opportunity to provide new opportunities for female students to participate in sports. Flag football is a fast-growing sport that is popular among women of all ages, and we are confident that our program will be a success.”

The International Federation of American Football reports that flag football has similar characteristics to the contact game, with offensive teams having four downs to reach a certain point on the field while the defense attempts to stop them. If a team reaches the endzone, they score six points and have the option to add one or two additional points through extra plays. If the team chooses to start five yards from the endzone, they can earn one point, while a twelve-yard starting point earns two points (The International Federation of American Football (IFAF)). In addition, flag football has been accepted as a 2028 Summer Olympics.

A search for a coach will begin immediately. If interested, please contact SHU Senior Woman Leader and Director of Flag Football Operations Samantha Bartelotti at sbartelo@sienaheights.edu or 517-264-7825. Interested athletes can fill out an inquiry here.