Another long standing barrier looks like it will come tumbling down this fall.
In 2007, Sarah Thomas became the first female to officiate an NCAA football game. Now Thomas, was had been a finalist for an NFL officiating job, appears to be headed to the League.
According to Aaron Wilson of the Ravens Insider, the ground breaking move has been made by the NFL.
Hearing the NFL has hired its first female official, Sarah Thomas, a ground-breaking move. Mississippi native was a finalist previously
Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) April 3, 2015
We profiled Thomas two years ago when she became the first woman to officiate an FBS Bowl Game
Thomas has been on the league’s radar for seven years. NFL VP of officiating Dean Blandino said in 2013 that “She was in our pipeline for a while,” but noted that making the leap to NFL official takes time for any prospective official.
“It’s similar from when a players jumps from college to the NFL,” he said at the time. “Getting used to that type of speed is important.”
“The speed, yes, is there,” she said in 2013. “These are just phenomenal athletes on both sides of the ball. The game has a tendency to slow down the most snaps you get and repetition. So, hopefully, the more snaps I get, things will start slowing down a little bit.”
Thomas has previously worked NFL preseason games and training camps, and any promotion would come with an asterisk. She technically wouldn’t be the first female to officiate an NFL game; Shannon Eastin earned that distinction when she worked as a replacement ref early in the 2012 season.