After playing defensive back for her high school team in Kentucky, Shelby Osborne is going to continue her football career in college.
The Jeffersonville, Ind., native signed Wednesday with Campbellsville University, an NAIA school in Campbellsville, Kentucky. While most female college football players have been kickers, Osborne is going to play defensive back.
She's not the first woman to play defense in college football, Joyce Muntari played linebacker at Monterey Peninsula and Contra Costa junior colleges in the mid-1990s, but while a female kicker is still pretty rare, a female defenisve player is even rarer. It's why her coach, Lonnie Oldham, warned her it would be a struggle to find a spot to play in college.
"I was like there's no way that this girl is going to be able to play in college and 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,'" Oldham told NBC WAVE3.
But it didn't stop Osborne from trying. She contacted multiple schools, though she said interest would wane when they found out she was a girl.
Osborne says she wrote coaches all over. "Every school in Kentucky, I had some from Florida, North Carolina," she said, but when they found out she was a girl, the response was the same. "No more emails, no more calls, no more anything," she said. "Just cut off."
But she got a partial scholarship offer after visiting Campbellsville and thanks to other assistance, she'll have more than 80 percent of her tuition covered.
On Twitter, Osborne credited the example set by Mungari and other female college football players like Katie Hnida, a former kicker at Colorado and New Mexico, with being an inspiration. After transferring to New Mexico from Colorado, where she alleged she was sexually assaulted by a teammate, Hnida became the first woman to score points in a Division I football game in 2003, when she kicked two extra points against Texas State. Could Osborne eventually return an interception for a touchdown?
@KatieHnida thank you I couldn't have done it if people like you haven't lead the way— Shelbylynn Osborne (@WontQuitTilIDie) June 5, 2014
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