The Majority of Refs at a College Football Game Tonight Will be Women


If you enjoy college football, or even if you don’t, Thursday evening’s game between Division II schools Miles College and Lane College will be notable: four female officials will be working their game, a first for an NCAA football game.

The AP reports that the women working are Yvonda Lewis, who is head linesman, joined by Tangela Mitchell, Sabrina Brunson and Krystle Apellaniz. In a super sweet turn of events, it was seeing a tape of Brunson that inspired Mitchell to try to become a ref in the first place. “I was like, ‘I’m doing this. I don’t know who she is but I want to meet her one day. I’m doing this,'” she told Brunson added, “For Thursday’s game, this is going to raise a lot of eyebrows, especially when we come out of the locker room and we’re taking our positions.”

In the world’s most obvious statement ever, the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s Harold Mitchell said:

This is a special opportunity for not only the group of ladies selected to officiate the game, but all officials in the SIAC…To that point, it’s also very important for everyone to understand that the selected crew are all outstanding officials, and not just females.

It wasn’t that long ago that highly-respected official Sarah Eastman graduated from working NCAA games to working for the NFL, though, because of the 2012 lockout, it was actually Shannon Eastin who became the first to ref an NFL game. Think Progress points out that the female officials at Thursday night’s game are all part of the NFL’s Officiating Development Program, which explains why NFL higher-ups will be at the game to watch them and see if they’d be a good fit for the big league. No pressure at all, of course.

Four female officials is NCAA first [ESPN via Think Progress]

Four women to make history, part of crew officiating Lane-Miles football game []

Image via Getty

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