The NFL has hired its first full-time female official

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Lindsey Kehres

The NFL has just hired Sarah Thomas as their first full-time, female official. This Mississippi native is one out of the eight new officials chosen for the 2015 season after four of the past officials chose to retire this past season.

Thomas joined the Conference USA in 2007 and in 2009 became the first woman to officiate a bowl game.She has also been in the NFL’s Officiating Development program and worked a preseason game last season. In 2011, she was the first female referee to work in a Big Ten stadium.

Thomas had this to say to Sports Illustrated when asked about how her new hire seems to be breaking the gender barrier: “I set out to do this and get involved in officiating not having any idea that there were not any females officiating.Being a former basketball player, you saw female officiating all the time, so no I don’t feel like a pioneer.”

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