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18 Year Old is First to be Granted a Full Ride for Football

On April 12, 18-year-old Becca Longo became the first woman to receive an NCAA football scholarship to a Division II school. She signed a national letter of intent with Colorado’s Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado. Not only did she commit to playing football, but basketball as well.


Standing at 5’11”, 140 pound Longo went to Chandler Basha High School in Phoenix, Arizona where, as a senior, she only played two seasons of football. She previously played as a sophomore at a different school, but when she transferred to Basha as a junior, she was forced to sit on the sidelines.

As a senior, Longo made 30 out of 33 extra point kicks and converted a 30-yard field goal in eight games for the Basha Bears. Though she only played competitively for a short amount of time, it goes without saying that Longo’s talent and determination are what secured her spot as the kicker at Adams State.

Longo was first inspired to play by her older brother, Bobby, who was high school teammates with Heidi Garrett, the record holder for longest field goal ever converted by a woman in a competitive football game. “I looked up to her kind of how some girls look up to me now,” Longo said.

Longo is not the first woman to play college football, but she is the first to receive a full ride because of the sport. Longo joins about a dozen women who have played college football, including Liz Heaston who is believed to be the first woman to ever score a point in a college game, and Ashley Martin, who is the first woman to play at the Division I level. Katie Hnida became the only woman to ever score in a FBS competition with New Mexico in 2003, but both Martin and Hnida played as walk ons. Longo is proving that women should be stable members of a team, rather than just walk ons.

Adams State head coach Timm Rosenbach, former NFL quarterback of the Phoenix Cardinals, said that Longo’s gender was never a factor in the recruiting process.

“I see her as a football player who has earned it,” said Rosenbach. “It was like recruiting any other athlete. In Division II, we can see their workouts. To me, there is no doubt she can be competitive. She has a strong leg, and she can be very accurate.”

Adams State plays in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, and the school will open their 2017 season on September 2 against South Dakota’s Black Hills State University.

When Longo heard the news about being the first woman to receive a Division II scholarship, her “jaw hit the floor” and she was “blown away.” Longo’s journey is an inspiration to women everywhere, and her advice to young girls following her success story is to go out and do whatever they want to do.

“Don’t listen to the negativity,” said Longo. “Just go out and do what you love.”

Featured Image by cebriancristina on Flickr

Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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