Tahlequah Daily Press

Get the scoop!

July 9, 2013

Women referees set to break NFL's glass ceiling

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

About 47 percent of the 108.4 million people who watched the 2013 Super Bowl were female, according to Nielsen data.

Thomas, who officiates college football in Irving, Texas- based Conference USA, worked an Indianapolis Colts minicamp last month. She'll call NFL preseason games in August.

"It's pretty quick," Thomas said in a telephone interview. "In those scrimmage games you sit back and think it's really not, but when you start digging into every responsibility at that position, you really do realize it's a lot faster."

She's already proven herself in the NCAA's top level, the Football Bowl Subdivision, said Gerald Austin, a former NFL referee who worked in three Super Bowls and is now coordinator of officials for Conference USA.

"Her judgment on calls has graded out very high," Austin said in a telephone interview. "Let the coaches coach the game, let the players play the game, but when there's a call that needs to be made then have the wherewithal and courage to step up and make the call. She's shown adeptness at knowing when you should pull the trigger."

The National Basketball Association has used female referees since 1997, when Violet Palmer and Dee Kantner were hired. Major League Baseball has never had a woman umpire.

Thomas, who has two boys, nine and 12, and a six-month-old girl, also works full-time in pharmaceutical sales for Bagsvaerd, Denmark-based Novo Nordisk.

She squeezes in time throughout the week to watch game film and talk to colleagues about situations and rules. Most NFL game officials are part-time, and they will make an average of $173,000 this season under their collective bargaining agreement.

"You just do it," she said, while expressing appreciation for help from her husband, Brian. "I have to tend to the kids, I have to do my job, and I have to get ready for football season. It's just what I have to do."

Text Only
Get the scoop!
Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Stocks