The University of Colorado Boulder has offered a clinic called “Football 101 for Women” since sometime when Bill Clinton was president. Some feminist alumni recently found out about it. Now, they are mad.
The angry alumni say the clinic condescendingly promotes the stereotype that women don’t understand sports, or don’t care about them, reports the Daily Camera, Boulder’s main newspaper.
Clinic attendees — all female — will learn about football from Colorado Buffaloes head coach Mike MacIntyre and other members of the coaching staff. There will be an “interactive clinic” consisting of meetings, film study and skill stations, according to Buffs Blast, a team-related newsletter.
University of Colorado athletic department spokesman Dave Plati noted that this year’s complaints are the first he has heard since the school introduced the clinic in the mid-1990s.
Plati also observed that the three-hour, $50 clinic will cover advanced football topics such as why a defense might choose a cover 2 scheme.
“You won’t hear about the very basics of the game, such as a touchdown is worth six points,” the athletic director told the Daily Camera.
The complaining women don’t like it.
“It’s singling out women as if they don’t understand how to do things,” 2002 CU graduate Lindsay Howard told the local paper. “It’s hard to fully articulate, aside from the fact that it felt like a cute little pat on the head. ‘We’re gonna teach you how this sport works.’”
“It’s not 1950; it’s 2014,” she added.
Another angry alum, 1996 graduate Sarah McLaughlin, said she saw information about the clinic on Facebook and thought it was a hoax.
“It makes me embarrassed that the university would think this is a good idea,” McLaughlin, who now works as a brand strategist, told the Daily Camera. “It seems very medieval or backwards.”
She added that she will now withhold all donations to the university because of the clinic.
For some reason, the Daily Camera also spoke to Out Boulder, a gay advocacy organization about the clinic. A spokeswoman for the organization, Mardi Moore, advised that the school should make the class available to everyone.
“Being a woman, I know I need some education in football,” she said, “but I also have several male friends who need education in football.”
As Campus Reform notes, several schools around the country offer a similar football class for women including the University of Notre Dame and the University of Connecticut.
MacIntyre, CU’s head football coach, noted that he has been part of such clinics during previous coaching stops at San Jose State and the University of Mississippi.
“The ladies really enjoyed it, it gives them more knowledge of the game,” the coach said in the Buffs Blast newsletter, according to the Daily Camera. “They’ll learn a lot about the game, and they’ll be able to meet our staff. Some will know a lot about football, and some won’t.”
The class will occur on the evening of July 16 at the Dal Ward Athletic Center. Refreshments and a parting gift will be provided.