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Colorado defends ‘Football 101 for Women’ clinic

    Hawaii Warriors Allen Sampson runs the ball against the Colorado Buffalo in a game on Saturday afternoon during the second half.

BOULDER, Colo. >> Some University of Colorado alumni are rolling their eyes at an upcoming "Football 101 for Women" clinic, saying the course plays to gender stereotypes that women don’t understand the game.

But university officials insist the class is sophisticated and not intended to be condescending to women.

The three-hour class is taught by Colorado football coach Mike MacIntyre, The Daily Camera reported Tuesday. The women-only event costs $50 a head and is described as a "comfortable setting" for women to learn about CU football.

CU athletic department spokesman Dave Plati said the campus has been hosting the class since the mid-1990s and has not heard any complaints about it. But at least one almuna told the newspaper that the course name is a "slap in the face" to women.

"It’s singling out women as if they don’t understand how to do things," said Lindsay Howard, a 2002 CU graduate. "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.’"

Howard, who is vice president of television for APA Talent and Literacy Agency in Los Angeles, said she was shocked that the school that set her on a path toward management at a prestigious company would teach girls and women to see themselves as less than or different from men in their sports knowledge.

"It’s not 1950; it’s 2014," she said. "That was the most basic slap in the face in the naming of that class."

CU isn’t alone in trying to reach out to women. The University of Tulsa, University of Southern Mississippi, University of Connecticut, University of Notre Dame and others host similar courses.

Plati said the class covers complex topics such as the advantages of a cover 2 defense.

"You won’t hear about the very basics of the game, such as a touchdown is worth six points," he said.

He added that many women become friends with the coaching staff through the class.

Buffs football coach MacIntyre said he has hosted similar clinics at Ole Miss and San Jose State.

"The ladies really enjoyed it, it gives them more knowledge of the game," MacIntyre said in the newsletter. "…Some will know a lot about football, and some won’t, but either way it really helps them watch and understand the game and understand what our players go through."

When 1996 CU graduate Sarah McLaughlin saw a post about the class on Facebook, she initially thought it was a joke.

McLaughlin grew up a fan of New York teams and started playing sports when she was 3, she said.

"It makes me embarrassed that the university would think this is a good idea," she said. "It seems very medieval or backwards. Very archaic in how they think about women’s understandings of sports."

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