Butte, Helena, Great Falls and Bozeman will have franchises this spring in the Big Sky division of the North American Football League.
The semipro league has 62 teams nationwide and is considered a second chance for college-caliber players to get noticed by pro football scouts. Gene Woodson, head coach of the Montana Panthers of Butte said the league gives players a chance to keep playing and improve their skills in hopes of getting a look.
Canadian Football League and National Football League scouts are expected to look at the division, he said.
The Panthers, the Helena Knights, the Great Falls Gladiators and the Bozeman Kodiaks are scheduled to play in late May with spring combines starting next month. The teams are expected to bring in about 12 players from out-of-state, but the rest will be made up of local and regional talent.
We are looking for some local guys to come in and impress us, Woodson said.
Woodson says the program is serious. Players will practice in the evenings after work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with film Monday and games Saturday.