The NFL is reportedly hiring Sarah Thomas as its first full-time female official. Thomas has been in the league’s officiating development program, has worked New Orleans Saints scrimmages, and officiated a preseason game last year.
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
Born in Mississippi, Thomas played basketball at the University of Mobile and was an academic all-American. She began officiating at the high school varsity level in 1999 and went on to be hired by Conference USA in 2007. Thomas was the first woman to officiate a major college football game, the first to officiate a Bowl game, and the first to officiate in a Big Ten stadium.
Thomas won’t be the first woman to work an NFL regular season game, but she will be the first permanent one. Back in 2012, Shannon Eastin was a temporary replacement ref during the lockout. A full-time NFL official reportedly is paid upwards of $250,000.
Back in 2013 when it was speculated Thomas might be hired by the NFL, many Twitter reactions were negative — surprisingly even from some other women. Hopefully, Thomas is judged for her work on the field, rather than ridiculed before she even officiates her first game.
Click through the gallery below to see photos of Sarah Thomas.