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The Utah Girls Tackle Football League Tackles Gender Norms

By Anya AlvarezGood Sports, Dick’s Sporting Goods

Photo courtesy of the Utah Girls Tackle Football League.

Photo courtesy of the Utah Girls Tackle Football League.

On numerous fields across the state of Utah this season, more than 300 young girls will gather to participate in a sport that they’ve traditionally not been allowed to play: football.

And it all started with Sam Gordon.

At just 9 years old, she caught the attention of millions of people when a 2012 video of her playing on a football team with boys went viral. She scored 35 touchdowns, rushed for 1,911 yards, and racked up 65 tackles.

Since then, Gordon has used her internet fame to speak at schools to share her story. At a middle school in 2015, she asked a group of girls a simple question: How many of you would play football if given the chance?

Basically every girl’s hand in the audience went up,” Gordon, now 14, tells GOOD. She took it upon herself to start an all-girls football league, and with the help of her parents, the Utah Girls Tackle Football League (UGTFL) was born.

We thought [that] if there’s this many girls in this assembly who want to play football, imagine how many there are in Utah or the entire country.” she says.

Read the full article here.

Bethany College offers scholarship to free safety Antoinette Harris

ESPN
by Adam Rittenberg

2018.01.26-ToniHarris-IMAGE

Image source: ESPN, Twitter

Antoinette “Toni” Harris wants to be the first woman to play in the NFL. On Wednesday, she moved a step closer to her goal when she received a scholarship offer from Bethany College, an NAIA school in Kansas.

Harris, who plays free safety for East Los Angeles College in California, will become one of the first female non-kickers on a college football roster — and may be the first to receive a scholarship offer. In 2014, cornerback Shelby Osborne signed with Campbellsville University in Kentucky, an NAIA school, but it’s unknown if she received a scholarship.

Last April, Becca Longo, a kicker from Arizona, became the first woman to sign a letter of intent to play college football at the Division II level or higher. Longo is a freshman at Division II Adams State in Colorado, where she is playing for both the football and women’s basketball teams.

Harris tweeted about the offer Wednesday night, and both she and Bethany College coach Paul Hubbard confirmed it to ESPN on Thursday.

“It’s pretty crazy,” Harris said. “It’s overwhelming but exciting at the same time.”

NAIA schools can offer partial athletic scholarships, but athletes also can qualify for academic aid, which Harris does as an honors student at East Los Angeles College. Bethany assistant coach Tyrone Carter, who had previously coached at East Los Angeles, informed the coaching staff about Harris last week, and they decided to extend her an offer Wednesday.

“We were absolutely interested,” Hubbard said. “She definitely has the skill set. We’re always looking outside the box or inside the box to find players. We watched her compete against the kids out there.”

Several women have kicked for major college teams, including Katie Hnida at Colorado and New Mexico, and April Goss at Kent State, but none received scholarships to come to school.

“Plenty of females that have played,” Hubbard said. “But [Harris] would be the first at a skill position.”

Read the full story.

Portland State Names Valerie Cleary New Athletic Director

By Molly Blue
The Oregonian/OregonLive

2016-12-29-newsfeed-psu-female-ad-image

Portland State University President Wim Wiewel has named Valerie Cleary the new Director of Athletics for the Vikings program. Cleary returns to Portland State after spending the past two years as AD at Willamette University in Salem.

Cleary replaces Mark Rountree, who is moving on to a role as Deputy Athletics Director of Georgia Tech.

“As our former associate athletics director who served as interim director before Mark was hired, Valerie Cleary has a keen understanding that academics and community engagement are a central part of the values of Portland State University athletics,” said President Wiewel. “She also has deep experience and knowledge not only of athletics and athletes but of Oregon and the Northwest. We are thrilled that Valerie is returning to our campus as PSU’s new athletics director.”

Previously, Cleary was the senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator at Portland State. She served in that capacity from September 2013 until she was named PSU’s interim athletics director in the fall of 2014 as PSU was completing an AD search that led to Rountree’s hiring. Cleary was named AD at Willamette in the spring of 2015.

Read the full story here.

 

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