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A woman in football defends Condi Rice for playoff panel

In this Oct. 10, 2010, file photo, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice laughs after autographing a football following her visit with the Cleveland Browns coaches and players at the team's NFL football training facility in Berea, Ohio. Rice is expected to be part of the selection committee that will pick the teams for the College Football Playoff next year. (AP)

In order to know about football you have to play football. That’s the loudest message we’re hearing from a number of football experts about a famous woman rumored to be part of the College Football Playoff selection committee next year.

ESPN College Game Day host David Pollack started the backlash, followed soon after by former Auburn coach Pat Dye after it was announced Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to be a part of the selection committee that will pick the playoff teams next year.

Pollack knew he was on shaky ground when he made his comments Saturday. “Now I’m going to stick my foot in my mouth, probably. I want people on this committee, guys, that can watch tape … Yes, that have played football, that are around football, that can tell you different teams, on tape, not on paper.”

Jessamyn McIntyre, producer of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Wyman, Mike, and Moore says Pollack backtracked later on Twitter. He wanted the people on this committee to sleep, eat, and breathe college football, and didn’t mean that couldn’t be a woman.

“I’m not going to lambaste him for that because he didn’t say no women should be in college football – but it came off that way,” Jessamyn tells KIRO Radio’s Andrew Walsh.

Not only is Jessamyn a sports radio producer and contributor to, she’s also sideline reporter for Washington State University football. Sure, she comes from a football family, but it wasn’t her dad (who played professional football, and later coached college football) who taught her about the x’s and o’s. Her mom was her teacher – an environmental biologist.

“Yes, he (my dad) was a football coach, but that means when I was sitting in the stands at a football game, you know who was teaching me football? It was my mother because my dad was coaching.”

Jessamyn said that if a woman who wasn’t raised in football can teach her daughter, it seems ridiculous that people would say women ‘just don’t get football.’ While most women lack the firsthand experience of playing football at the collegiate level Jessamyn says it’s because there wasn’t the opportunity.

“So the x’s and o’s might be a little behind on the learning, but that’s not to say you can’t learn it.”

But Dye, the former coach at Auburn would disagree. He told an Alabama radio show, “All she (Rice) knows about football is what somebody told her […] Or what she read in a book, or what she saw on television. To understand football, you’ve got to play with your hand in the dirt.”

Still, while Rice might not be so deeply entrenched in the minutia of college football, Jessamyn says having someone like her might actually be of value to the board.

“To have someone with an outside perspective that doesn’t have ties with any team – it might benefit them. […]It does come down to political decisions too, and if anyone has political ties, it’s definitely Condi. I think she would have a little bit of an unbiased opinion there.”

Former Mississippi and New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning, former Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Gould, the former Air Force Academy superintendent, and former NCAA executive Tom Jernstedt, who worked with the basketball tournament selection committee, also are expected to be part of the new 12-to-18 member football panel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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