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5 NCAA officials prove it’s not the old boys’ club anymore



It didn’t take long, but I had to make a slight modification to the site organization, based on a miscalculation on my part. We have a category that we place stories that profile a particular official or his off-the-field accomplishments titled, “Men in Black & White.” I thought it was a slightly clever way to name the category, with a little, if not slightly outdated, pop-culture reference. Nothing sexist implied.

So, now, we correct this to reflect an emerging, and welcome, change.

No fewer than five women have worked their way up in the ranks to NCAA Division I ball. The first female official to work a collegiate game was Sebrina Brunson last year in Div. II Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. One of the five women starting in Div. I this weekend is profiled in The New York Times, Sarah Thomas of Conference USA. Thomas was scouted by former NFL referee and current C-USA coordinator, Gerry Austin.

“She made one tough call after another and nailed every one of them,” Austin said. “There was no reason not to hire her.”

As for the prospect of seeing women in the NFL stripes, current guidelines require 10 seasons of collegiate experience to be considered. That means 2017, at the earliest.

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)