Note: this story concerns American football. It is not about the sport of football whose world championship is about to start in Rio de Janeiro. :o
Fewer than a dozen women have played college football on a men’s team. But this week, Osborne made history when she signed a letter of intent to play football with Campbellsville University in Kentucky – as a defensive back, the same position she played in high school.
Most women who have played college football have done so as kickers. Shelby Osborne’s parents supported her decision to play high school football, but hoped she’d try kicking in college.
Her high school coach was supportive of her playing in college but was realistic too. “You don’t want to shoot anybody’s dreams down but I had a conversation with Shelby and I said, ‘Shelby it’s going to be really tough for you to find anybody to take you,’” Lonnie Oldham told Louisville WAVE-TV Channel 3.
She wrote to every college in Kentucky, as well as schools in Florida and North Carolina. But the communication stopped as soon as coaches discovered “Shelby” was a girl’s name.
The athletic teams of Campbellsville University do not compete in the NCAA, but in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA.)
An additional surprise is that the university has been historically associated with the Southern Baptist Convention. The mission statement and the core values of the school strongly emphasize its Christian purpose.
The school offers two sports which are officially co-ed: cheerleading and bass fishing.