Next year a woman could take the field during a National Football League game.
She won’t be a player, but she might be enforcing the rules. Sarah Thomas, who recently participated at the NFL’s officiating development program at the Indianapolis Colts minicamp, could serve as a referee at some pre-season NFL games this year and is in line to get regular season referee spot when a current referee departs, the Sporting News notes.
If Thomas gets the job — and she is expected to — she will become the first permanent female referee in NFL history. Another woman, Shannon Easton, served as a temporary line judge at both a regular and pre-season game last year. Eastin may be barred from serving as a permanent ref due to her past as a poker player. NFL gambling rules would prevent her from working as a ref during league games.
Thomas will still have to pass a round of background checks, evaluations and interviews with league officials.
In May, Amy Trask, the NFL’s first female team CEO, announced that she had left the Oakland Raiders. She had served as the Raiders CEO since 1997.