The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation announced that applications are open for the fifth annual Buccaneers Girls in Football Scholarship.
The scholarship is available to high school girls nationwide who play organized football, want to wholeheartedly pursue a career in sports, have earned a minimum 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) during their high school academic career, are scheduled to graduate this spring and plan to enroll full-time at an accredited four-year college or university.
Applications are open until April 19, 2024. The scholarship recipients will be announced later.
At the forefront of inclusiveness and gender equality, the Buccaneers became the first NFL team to establish a scholarship of this kind in 2020, made possible through a $250,000 commitment by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation.
Last year's winners were surprised by Head Coach Todd Bowles, while three of the four recipients – Mia Decker (University of North Florida), Jessica Jenkins (Tennessee State University), and Eryn Klaus (University of Florida) also received a tour of the facility from wide receiver Mike Evans, linebacker Lavonte David, and quarterback Baker Mayfield. While unable to attend the festivities, Ana James (Howard University), the fourth recipient, received a surprise video call, signed football, and custom jersey.
"Sports bring people together and I want to be a part of that," said Jessica Jenkins, current freshman at Tennessee State University and 2023 Girls in Football Scholarship recipient. "I want to be an athletic trainer for a professional sports team and make a difference in my community. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers helped me get one step closer to achieving my dreams with their Girls in Football Scholarship. This scholarship has changed my life and I'm grateful to have been a recipient."
The Girls in Football Scholarship is just one of the many ways the Bucs organization is committed to gender equality both on and off the field. In 2021, the team launched the Women's Summit for Careers in Football, an ongoing program that strengthens the pipeline of women pursuing NFL careers through informative, engaging sessions featuring high-profile hosts and Buccaneers leadership. For the past several years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation has hosted the largest girls flag football tournament in the country with the Girls High School Flag Football Preseason Classic, presented by AdventHealth. The multi-day event brings together more than 100 high school teams and over 1,800 student athletes in a round robin-style competition to kick off the high school flag football season in Florida. The team also established the Jr. Bucs Girls Flag Football League, an inaugural league in the City of Tampa, where the Foundation covers league fees and equipment for all girls who play. And through in-school programming, the Jr. Bucs Middle School initiative brings flag football to more than 35,000 middle school girls every year.
To learn more, visit https://learnmore.scholarsapply.org/buccaneersgirlsinfootball/.