Monday, September 21, 2009

1st Female Ref in Top-Tier College Football

When the University of Memphis plays Jacksonville State of Alabama at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, another advance for women in sports will be made. Sarah Thomas is making a push for women's equality in sports by becoming the first female referee to work a top-tier college game.

Thomas is major college's only female football coach. She has been a referee for over 11 years, mostly working high school games in Mississippi. In 2006, Thomas was about to hang up the whistle and pursue a successful pharmaceutical career, but she was recruited to be a referee by Greg Austin, the coordinator of football officials for Conference USA.

What suprises me about Thomas is that she supposedly goes unnoticed and is not heckled by fans and coaches. The sexism women in sports and female sports writers face is infamous, so the unrestricted praise that Thomas recieves is a welcome break.

On an interesting side note, other women are joining Thomas in becoming the "first women" football referees in their respective areas. Hopefully, there will be many other firsts in other sports.

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