Sep 17, 2011; Hattiesburg, MS, USA; Conference USA line judge Sarah Thomas signals a touchdown during game between the Southeastern Louisiana Lions and the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at M.M. Roberts Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

NFL could have first ever female official in 2013

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August 6, 2011; Metairie, LA, USA; Conference USA official Sarah Thomas works with the New Orleans Saints during training camp practice at the New Orleans Saints practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

There is a referee-in-training who could very well be the NFL’s first female official. Sarah Thomas, a former college basketball player from Jackson, Mississippi, has started training to become a permanent official in the league.

She has plenty of experience though, she began refereeing at high school games when she was just 23, and never looked back since. For the past six years, sine 2007, Thomas has been officiating college football games for Conference-USA.

She is enrolled in the league’s Officiating Development Program, which will put her in the running for a job at the next level, something she’s only been able to dream about.

She was placed in New Orleans this past week, and has been training there over the past few days. Although she isn’t new to the organization, as Thomas has trained there before. She reffed yesterday’s team scrimmage, and will be doing the same today. Thomas seems to be fitting right in, and appears to be doing well so far. Saints’ head coach Sean Payton has already said Thomas has been doing a ‘ great job.’

With the way the sports world has been changing and accepting new things, like athletes coming out to the public, having a female official on such a big thing could be a good thing. Albeit may be a new premise, since we’ve never seen it in the NFL before, we can’t say how well it will truly work until we are able to witness it first hand – which might come as soon as this upcoming season.

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