BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The officials sprinted around the field keeping order, throwing flags and even telling the Miles College band to hush once.
It was a typical college football game Thursday night except that four of the seven people wearing the black-and-white stripes were women.
The Southern Intercollege Athletic Conference billed the Miles-Lane game as the first majority-female officiating crew for an NCAA game.
The event — Miles won 38-26 — was significant enough that the NFL's director of officiating David Coleman, director of recruiting Ron Baynes and regional scout Bob Shoulders attended the game. They wanted to see head linesman Yvonda Lewis, line judge Tangela Mitchell, field judge Sebrina Brunson and back judge Krystle Apellaniz in action, as well as the men.
The NFL began a Women Officiating Now (W.O.N.) program this year as part of the Football Officiating Academy launched in 2010. The program is designed to help recruit and train female officials.
Coleman said he had never seen more than one woman work a college game but did see two in a high school game.
Shannon Eastin of Tempe, Ariz., is the only woman to officiate in an NFL game.