NFL announces hiring of Sarah Thomas as first permanent female official

The NFL has announced that Sarah Thomas has been hired as its first permanent female official.

Sources said last week that she had been hired.


Thomas joins the NFL as a line judge, along with eight other first-time officials who are all graduates of the league's officiating development program.

Thomas will become the second female to officiate an NFL regular-season game. Shannon Eastin was a line judge for the first three games of the 2012 seasons during an officials lockout.

"Our incoming officials have all demonstrated that they are among the best in college football," NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said in a statement. "We are excited about having them join us."

A former official for Conference USA football games, Thomas previously officiated NFL preseason games, working as a line judge.

She also has experience workingNew Orleans Saints practices and an Indianapolis Colts minicamp as part of the NFL officiating development program. She also officiated the United Football League championship game in 2010.

The resident of Brandon, Miss., is married with three children and also works as a pharmaceutical sales representative. She attended the University of Mobile on a basketball scholarship.

She became the first woman to officiate a bowl game when she was picked to work the 2009 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl between Marshall and Ohio.