The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and its Supervisor of Officials Harold Mitchell announced today that a crew of four females will serve as officials in Thursday Night’s football game between Lane College and Miles College.
The game will mark the first time that a crew of officials will be predominately females on any NCAA level.
“We are extremely proud to be in the vanguard with respect to the promotion of gender diversity in this area and look forward to continuing our efforts to foster diversity in intercollegiate athletics,” said SIAC Commissioner Gregory Moore.
“This is a special opportunity for not only the group of ladies selected to officiate the game, but all officials in the SIAC. Playing on a Thursday night is also a great opportunity for our [SIAC] officials to partner with officials from an FCS conference.” said Mitchell, who also is the Coordinator of Officials in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. “To that point, it’s also very important for everyone to understand that selected crew are all outstanding officials, and not just females.”
When the game kickoffs at 7 p.m. (ET)/6 p.m. (CT) at Albert J. Sloan Stadium on the campus of Miles College in Fairfield, AL, the officials, Yvonda Lewis (Head Linesman) from Houston, TX, Tangela Mitchell (Line Judge) from Atlanta, GA, Sabrina Brunson (Field Judge) from Atlanta, GA and Krystle Apellaniz (Back Judge) from Oviedo, FL will represent the first majority female crew.
Brunson is the veteran of the four officials, working as the first female official in the SIAC since 1995. Coincidentally, Lewis became the first female official in the SWAC in 2009, and has been officiating SIAC games since 2010. Mitchell and Apellaniz both are in their first year in the SIAC.
The National Football League (NFL) has also taken notice to this ground breaking moment as its Director of Football Officials, David Coleman and Ron Baynes, Director of Recruiting, will be in attendance to evaluate the officials performance. Furthermore, the league will also have members of its Public Relations department in attendance taking photos in an effort to promote its initiative to afford more opportunities for female officials in the National Football League.