Safety Antoinette 'Toni' Harris Joins Exclusive Company With College Football Scholarship

Karl Bullock
Sports Illustrated
Safety Antoinette 'Toni' Harris Joins Exclusive Company With College Football Scholarship
Safety Antoinette 'Toni' Harris Joins Exclusive Company With College Football Scholarship

Antoinette Harris made headlines after Bethany College, an NAIA school in Kansas, offered her a scholarship to play college football.

Harris, a Detroit native, plays safety at East Los Angeles College. She's set to join a select group of women to play college football.

"It's pretty crazy," Harris told ESPN. "It's overwhelming but exciting at the same time."

Harris said she participated in football as a youth, but was forced off the team because she was a girl. Despite that, her passion for football led her back to the sport at Redford Union High School in Michigan.

"A lot of coaches didn't believe in me," Harris told ESPN. "A coach told me nobody's ever going to play you to be at the next level. In the end, you've got to push yourself. I'm going to focus on my goals."

Harris has used her non-believers as motivation and the hard work has started to pay off with this latest offer.

It's rare that NAIA schools offer full athletic scholarships. It is commonplace for athletes to receive partial scholarships in addition to financial assistance based on the school's determination.

Harris is in exclusive company. She joins other female athletes such as Katie Hnida and Becca Longo that played football at the college level. Her goal is to become the first female player in the NFL.

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