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NFL to hire first fulltime female official – SportsUntapped.com
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Added April 6th, 2015 by Ian

NFL to hire first fulltime female official
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The NFL will soon announce the hiring of the league’s first ever fulltime female official in Sarah Thomas. She has been participating in the football league’s officiating development program and is expected to be hired for the next on-field opening that comes up. She shouldn’t have to wait too long since several officials retire each year while others are let go as they don’t make the grade. Thomas is expected to be named to the 2015 list of officials in the coming week.

The 41-year-old Thomas hails from Mississippi and has been officiating all different levels of football for close to 20 years now. She made history in 2007 when she became the first female to officiate an NCAA contest. She has previous NFL experience as a line judge in a preseason game in 2013, but is now about to earn a huge promotion. Retired NFL official Gerald Austin is the coordinator of officials for Conference USA and he invited Thomas to an officiating camp.

Thomas, who works as a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company, was hired by Austin to work several Conference USA matches and she eventually became the first woman to officiate in a bowl game. The mother of three said she didn’t have any idea that there were no female officials in football when she started out in her striped shirt. She said that it was never her aim to become the NFL’s first permanent female official, but doesn’t feel it’s been any harder for her because she’s a woman.

She added, “I think that we are just out here working as officials. I think just on our credentials, just as officials, I think that’s what moves us along, not because of our gender or our race.” Thomas has already worked several minicamps with NFL clubs such as the Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints. Thomas won’t be the first female to officiate a regular season NFL contest as Shannon Eastin worked a game as a replacement official back in the 2012 season when the fulltime officials were locked out. However, Thomas will be the first fulltime female to work in the league.

 
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