Gridiron Gals

Participants run out of the tunnel at the Kelly Cares Foundation's Football 101 EventThe football team forgot to show up, so these ladies dressed in pink shirts played USC instead.  Copyright University of Notre Dame / Photo by Joe Raymond.

When you imagine the typical Notre Dame football fan, you might imagine die-hard tailgate warriors, guys clad in their blue jerseys and armed with a week's worth of raw meat and charcoal for a day-long tailgate.  Or maybe you imagine the old-time alumni, debating the finer points of Brian Kelly's offensive strategies while watching the Irish on NBC.

But consider this: Increasingly, fanatic football fans -- and even football players -- will be women.

According to an article in the Springfield, Ill. State Journal-Register, more women are playing football than ever before, both recreationally and on high school teams.

Reporter Carol Sponagle points to popular events like Football 101, a football camp for women at Notre Dame hosted by the Kelly Cares Foundation, as signs that women are increasingly drawn to understanding football strategy.  Attendees of Football 101, clad in special pink Notre Dame jerseys designating the camp's fundraising efforts for breast cancer research, learn skills from Notre Dame coaches and players.

Notre Dame's female students are often the most intense fans on campus, clad in gold spandex and covered in blue paint come gameday.  All of Notre Dame's women's dorms field competitive interhall flag football teams.  The two best teams play the interhall championship game in Notre Dame Stadium at the end of each season.

Here's the full story: "Football working for more female fans."

For more photos of the inaugural Football 101 at Notre Dame, check out UND.com's photo gallery.  More details about this year's Football 101 in June are available at the Athletics news page.