Football Zebras
DiversityXFL looking to open doors to women in officiating

XFL looking to open doors to women in officiating

The XFL plans to open its second chapter of life seven months. If league officials get their wish, we will see more female officials make the calls.

On The Football Girl Podcast, former NFL officiating senior vice president Dean Blandino told host Melissa Jacobs that there is a “concerted effort” to create a diverse officiating staff in the XFL. Blandino is a consultant with XFL in charge of the rules and recruiting its staff of officials.

We’re trying to create more opportunities for female officials and minority officials. The XFL is going to be a showcase for officials all over the country to get more looks and potentially have the NFL look at them. So, we’re going to put together an inclusive [officiating] staff.

Sarah Thomas is the lone female official in the NFL, hired by Blandino. There are several women NBA officials. There have never been women MLB baseball umpires or NHL hockey officials. Blandino was an advisor — with his NFL predecessor and Fox Sports cohort Mike Pereira — to the Alliance of American Football in their truncated debut season this year, which had 3 women officiating on the field and expanded the limits of diversity.

Blandino is also the executive producer of the documentary short film Her Turf about women in football officiating, including Tangela Mitchell, pictured above.

The XFL played for one season in 2001 and never answered the bell for a second season. The XFL will relaunch in February of 2020.

Photo: Walk On Productions

Mark Schultz
Mark Schultz
Mark Schultz is a high school football official, freelance writer and journalist. He first became interested in officiating when he was six years old, was watching a NFL game with his father and asked the fateful question, "Dad, what are those guys in the striped shirts doing?"

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