Female pair make history on Fight Hunger Bowl officiating crew
One story that may have gone unnoticed in Friday night's Fight Hunger Bowl was one that didn't have an affect on the outcome of the game, a 31-16 Washington win over Brigham Young. And to be honest, that's exactly the way both women at the heart of the matter wanted it.
But the mere presence of line judge Sarah Thomas and head linesman Maia Chaka as part of the Conference USA crew at AT&T Park was enough to generate headlines. Friday marked the first time an FBS game featured two women officials on a single crew.
While the game marked a milestone in gender-equality, neither woman sought extra praise or attention for their achievement. They simply wanted to be regarded as just another college football official deserving of a bowl game assignment. As Chaka stated in media reports, "I look at it as we're officials first and women second."
Thomas isn't new to making positive headlines in the sports world. She became the first woman to work an NCAA DI game seven years ago and also broke the gender barrier for college bowl games. Then this past August she worked as a line judge in an NFL preseason matchup between the Raiders and Saints in New Orleans, leading some to believe she may become the NFL's first female ref.
Whatever the future may hold for Thomas, Chaka and other female officials, it's worth noting that both women got their wish: the pair went unnoticed working the sidelines other than the brief recognition of their presence on the game broadcast – the true sign of a qualified official.