(ESPN) – BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Four female officials will be working a game between Division II Miles and Lane, in what appears to be a first for a college football game.

The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, an Atlanta-based league comprised of historically black schools, said Thursday night’s game at Miles will mark the first time a mostly female officiating crew has worked an NCAA football game. The league said NFL director of football officials David Coleman and director of recruiting Ron Baynes will attend the game to evaluate the officials’ performance.

“This is a special opportunity for not only the group of ladies selected to officiate the game, but all officials in the SIAC,” said Harold Mitchell, supervisor of officials for the SIAC and the Southwestern Athletic Conference. “Playing on a Thursday night is also a great opportunity for our [SIAC] officials to partner with officials from an FCS conference.

“To that point, it’s also very important for everyone to understand that the selected crew are all outstanding officials, and not just females.”

Yvonda Lewis will be the head linesman and work with line judge Tangela Mitchell, field judge Sabrina Brunson and back judge Krystle Apellaniz.

All four, who will work with former NFL player umpire Terry Killens, have risen through the NFL Officiating Development Program.

Brunson of Atlanta and Houston’s Lewis have already made history. Brunson became the SIAC’s first female official in 1995, and Lewis was the first woman to officiate in a SWAC game in 2009. She has been working SIAC games since 2010.

Mitchell, who lives in Atlanta, and Apellaniz of Oviedo, Fla., both are in their first year in the SIAC.


The obvious opinion here that most (male) football fans will agree upon is that this is going to be an absolute nightmare. People will complain that if we allow women to start officiating games it will be the end of football, and sports for that matter, as we know it. Well, settle down.

This is such an obvious publicity stunt, almost painfully obvious. Let’s review the facts

  1. It’s a game between 2 historically all black schools – so not only are we checking off minority #1 by allowing women equality, but throw in a couple of black schools and it becomes a duo of minorities who get attention and “fair shot”
  2. Its a Thursday night game – obviously this is going to be the most useless primetime spot possible – what i mean by this is that it’s primetime enough where people will pay attention,  but its on a Thursday night so it’s easy to ignore. They didn’t stick these women in a game thats gonna air at 8pm on a Saturday, it’s a Thursday. Having said that, they still have the trump card of “well its primetime”. 

I can only imagine that the men coming to judge these women’s performance will be smirking and joking with one another in the booth the entire time.