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.