UPDATE: (11:25 p.m.) — Leadership at the Senior Bowl has decided to continue the tradition of having the Azalea Trail Maids appear at this year’s game on game day.

The Reese’s Senior Bowl Media Relations Coordinator issued the following statement Wednesday evening:

We are thankful for those in the Mobile community who have reached out over the past several days to express their deep appreciation for the important role that the Azalea Trail Maids have played in the history of the Senior Bowl and their strong desire to ensure that tradition continues for many years to come. The Senior Bowl echoes those sentiments and looks forward to the Azalea Trail Maids participating in this year’s welcome event, annual downtown parade, and gameday experience. As fans enter Hancock Whitney Stadium on gameday, they will be greeted by the Maids. As they do so, we encourage our fans to take a moment to thank these accomplished young women for their service to our city and game. This year, the smaller sideline areas of the new stadium don’t allow for adequate space for the Maids to safely stand on the sideline for the entire duration of the four-hour game. On game day, the Maids will be introduced on the field in their iconic dresses and recognized as an important part of the Senior Bowl tradition. We will continue to provide updates as we confirm details to the game day program.

Sincerely,

Senior Bowl Leadership

 Molly Middleton

 Media Relations Coordinator

 Reese’s Senior Bowl

 #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE​

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Azalea Trail Maids have accepted a limited role in next week’s Senior Bowl festivities.

According to Trail Maid officials, 10 Trail Maids in full dresses and 20 in running outfits will appear at Monday’s Welcoming Ceremony at the Battle House Hotel. Friday, Feb. 4, all 50 Trail Maids, in their dresses, will appear in the Senior Bowl Parade in Downtown Mobile. Saturday, Feb. 5, “a small number” of Trail Maids in dresses and running outfits will greet fans entering Hancock Whitney Stadium.

The Trail Maids will not be a part of in-stadium activities, including the pre-game and halftime festivities.

Last Thursday, controversy erupted when Mobile County Commissioner Randall Dueitt called out Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy for not inviting the Trail Maids to the Senior Bowl game. The Trail Maids, known for their antebellum dresses, have been a part of on-field festivities at the Senior Bowl for years.

Last year, the Senior Bowl ditched its long-standing North vs. South format.

Dueitt called that move and the Trail Maids exclusion “woke N.F.L. culture.”

The Senior Bowl announced Tuesday that the Trail Maids had previously accepted an invitation to the Welcoming Ceremony and that it was extending an invitation to participate in the parade and to greet fans outside the stadium.

Mobile city councilman Scott Jones said he feels the focus on the style of dress is overshadowing what the girls truly represent as ambassadors of the city.

“The vetting process is extremely difficult, they’re academic scholars, they’re active in their community,” said Jones. “It’s anything anybody would ever want, and they’re a diverse organization with many minorities in the group.”

Jones said he would boycott all Senior Bowl events and pull his support for future funding if the trail maids are not invited onto the field. “If we’re going to cancel something then cancel the senior bowl before you cancel these girls,” said Jones.

The full email to Maid parents read as followed:

Dear Trail Maids,

 Here is an update on the Mobile Azalea Trail’s involvement in Senior Bowl activities for 2022. As of the late afternoon of Tuesday, January 25th, we have been invited to participate in the Senior Bowl Welcoming Ceremony, Senior Bowl Parade and Senior Bowl Game. However, our participation this year will be different from previous years. Please read this email thoroughly. 

Senior Bowl Welcoming Ceremony: This event will be held Monday Night, January 31st at the Battle House Hotel. At this time, we will have 10 trail maids in dresses and 20 maids in running outfits. This event is more like a pep rally type of event. 

Senior Bowl Parade: The Senior Bowl Parade will be held Friday night, February 4th. This is a full court appearance. Transportation will be on your own and parking will most likely be at the Civic Center. We will continue to update you on the logistics of this appearance.

Senior Bowl: Participation at the Senior Bowl Game has been limited to a small number of Trail Maids who will be placed to meet and greet guests entering the stadium, prior to the game. They are also requesting a few trail maids in running outfits. There will be no full court appearance for the Bowl game itself in either the pregame or halftime show as per the Senior Bowl staff.

 I will let you know as soon as possible who all will attend each event and/or any of these numbers or logistics change.  As I said previously, we are always willing and ready to serve our city and community in whatever capacity we can.