American Football but make it faster! Sprint football, also known as speed football is played at a collegiate level in a number of colleges and universities across the United States. All the standard rules of American football apply to it – from the number of players to the duration of the match.
So, what’s the catch? In order to play sprint football, the players must have a minimum of 5% body fat and they must weigh 81 kgs (178 pounds) or less! These weight restrictions make the true essence of sprint football as the focus is given to the speed of the players. Since the 2022 season, the team sport is been governed by the Collegiate Sprint Football League and the Midwest Sprint Football League.
THE HISTORY OF SPRINT FOOTBALL
The fast-paced version of American football originated in 1934, with the establishment of the league that was initially known as “The Eastern 150-pound Football League”. In 1967, it was renamed to “The Eastern Lightweight Football League” and then finally to its current name “Collegiate Sprint Football League” (CSFL). CSFL was the only league where teams from different universities and colleges participated and competed against each other. However, after 2022, the CSFL was joined by the Midwest Sprint Football League which now also represents college-level sprint football, with 6 institutions initially a part of the league from the Midwest and Upper South.
COLLEGIATE SPRINT FOOTBALL LEAGUE (CSFL)
CSFL was formed in 1934 before World War II. The members of the CSFL are located in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. It is assumed that 5 teams will be active in the 2024 sprint football season. The four teams that have been members of the CSFL since the year 1957 have also original-sized football teams that take part in competitions. Each team plays a seven-game season.
An interesting event that I came across while researching this sport is the alumni games held at Penn, Princeton, Army, Cornell, and Princeton. They hold these games every year where the alumni of Sprint Football are invited on campus where they go against the varsity squad. You might think here that not all the alumni must fit the weight criteria for sprint football. Here is the interesting part:
These matches aim to collect funding for the team as well as continue the alumni interest in the program. The money raised is most commonly from the penalty that is added for those alumni players who are above the weight limit for example, players have to pay $2 per pound from the weight limit that is set – that is 178 pounds!
With numerous seasons and the growing popularity of this contact sport all over the US. It has its game seasons held every year. Although, the play was interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic where the 2020 fall season for sprint football was cancelled. However, in fall 2021, the season resumed its play.Sprint football teams from both the CSFL and MSFL do not come under the typical divisional structure as other NCAA sports in America. Hence, the rules and regulations applied are different from the sports scholarships at normal universities and colleges sports.
Members of the CSFL
- US Military Academy (Army)
- Caldwell University
- Chestnut Hill College
- Cornell University
- Mansfield University
- Molloy University
- US Naval Academy (Navy)
- University of Pennsylvania
- St. Thomas Aquinas College
MIDWEST SPRINT FOOTBALL LEAGUE (MSFL)
The Midwest Sprint Football League first came to play in the first half of the year 2022, adding 6 schools as members of the newly established league in the Midwest and Upper South. The league has its own championship and rules, but the weight restriction is the same as the CSFL. Players who are eligible to play sprint football should weigh around 81 kgs (178 pounds).
This weight limit has increased over the course of sprint football after assessing the average weight of a college student at an American college. These rules are consistent and strict for sprint football; the weight of every football player is checked two days before every match!
The formation of the league led to the expansion of this varsity sport after almost 90 years! Quincy University, a member of the MSFL is the institution that also has a football team that plays the original American football. After the first season with 6 members, two new schools became a part of the MSFL. Oakland City University joined, following Walsh University. This university also plays standard American football and now sprint football.
Members of the MSFL
- Bellarmine University
- Calumet College of St. Joseph
- Fontbonne University
- Midway University
- Oakland City University
- Quincy University
- Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
- Walsh University
Fun fact: The US Naval Academy has the highest number of sprint football championships.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SPRINT FOOTBALL
Q. What is the difference between American football and sprint football?
The same rules apply for both sports but sprint football has a weight restriction for players who are only eligible to be part of a league.
Q. Where is sprint football played?
This is played widely across US colleges and universities.
Q. What are the two leagues for sprint football?
They are the Collegiate Sprint Football League and the Midwest Sprint Football League.
Q. What does the NCAA stand for?
This is an abbreviation for the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Sprint football is truly a unique and comparatively strict version of the popular sport of American Football! With this version of the game that is most widely played in colleges and universities across the country, more and more young athletes opt for such sports. I believe sprint football is also a great way to maintain your weight while engaging in some healthy competition!