The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have become a model example of how diversity and inclusion can benefit a franchise. As they gear up to become the first team in NFL history to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium, they'll do it as a historical team in other ways. As part of a diverse staff, they're the first franchise to employ two full-time female coaches and they have women in prominent positions across the organization including in football research, scouting, nutrition and managerial positions throughout the front office.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation has long included women's initiatives as a pillar of their mission. They believe women belong in football at all levels and are now continuing to take strides to ensure girls all over the state of Florida and beyond feel like they have opportunities in the sport they love.
That's why the Foundation is announcing that the 2nd Annual Girls in Football Scholarship applications are now open.
Started in 2020, the scholarship is available to female high school football players nationwide who want to pursue a career in sports. The criteria is a minimum 3.0 grade point average and plan to enroll full-time at an accredited four-year college or university.
Want to apply? Click HERE.
It's the first scholarship of its kind thanks to a $250,000 commitment by the Buccaneers Foundation. Last year, four female football players from around the state of Florida were surprised with the news that they won by Bucs players like Lavonte David, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard and Shaq Barrett. Lorraine Angelakos now attends Brown University, Tatiana Maker attends Central Florida, Jade Rayburn is enrolled at Florida State and Janae Scott attends Florida Southern College.
"The Bucs have done an absolutely amazing job of representing us and what we stand for and proving that women in football deserve the same recognition as anyone else," said Rayburn.
It's all in an effort to grow the game of football while supporting gender equality on and off the field. To kick off this year's scholarship and celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day, the Buccaneers will help to host NFL High School Play Football Day in advance of Super Bowl LV on Wednesday. The event is focused on educating and inspiring local high school football players and coaches. Participants will engage with current NFL players, NFL Legends, coaches and other leaders in the game. Then, four top teams from Hillsborough County will compete in a round-robin exhibition.
That isn't the only way the Buccaneers will be represented in the pre-Super Bowl festivities. Nike launched a partnership with the NFL to bring girls flag football to more states across the country and they celebrated with this commercial spot, featuring a few familiar faces. Watch it until the end to catch assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust, assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar and Buccaneers Co-Owner Darcie Glazer Kassewitz.