Rollingout stated that Leilani Armenta created history late last month when she kicked off the game for Jackson State against SWAC opponent Bethune-Cookman. According to the Jackson Advocate, as an on-field kicker, she became the first female player for the Jackson State Tigers football team and the first female to participate on a Division One HBCU football team.
Armenta came to Jackson State University to play soccer but ended up making history as a kicker for the football team on September 23. The opening kick traveled only a few yards, prompting some social media users to call it the poorest kick in college football history.
“Deion left and now they got white girls kicking the ball,” another X user wrote. Many believe Armenta was added to the team primarily for publicity purposes. Analysts believe that this is not the only reason for her engagement. Armenta is from Ventura, California, and graduated from Saint Bonaventure High School. He played high school football for four years and was a kicker.
As a kicker for her high school squad, she scored on 98 of 105 extra point attempts and 5 of 5 field goals, according to the Jackson Advocate, adding that she retired from kicking due to injuries.
Because of her track record, she was asked to fill in for injured kicker Gerardo Baeza on the collegiate level, according to the platform. This happened only four days after she enrolled at Jackson State University. It was also her first game after undergoing ACL surgery 10 months prior.
Despite the criticism, Armenta expressed gratitude to her fans for their support both during and after the game.
According to Data USA, while the student body at Jackson State University is mostly Black (92.55%), there are a few white students (2.82%). JSU “recruits, admits, and provides services, financial aid, and instruction to all students” regardless of race, gender, religion, or national origin, according to the university’s equal opportunity statement.