A report this morning via Football Zebras stated the XFL and head of officiating, Dean Blandino was working towards creating a more diverse officiating staff. The lack of diversity among officials has been the subject of scrutiny across the amateur and professional football ranks in North America.
“We’re trying to create more opportunities for female officials and minority officials. The XFL is going to be a showcase for officials all over the country to get more looks and potentially have the NFL look at them. So, we’re going to put together an inclusive staff.”
Dean Blandino in June 2019 (via FootballZebras.com)
With that, the XFL has released the names of six women who will be on officiating crews this season, in addition to Terri Valenti, a veteran NFL replay official who will be working in the same role for the XFL:
- Maia Chaka, a line judge, and LaShell Nelson, a side judge, who most recently worked with Conference USA (NCAA).
- Robin DeLorenzo, a line judge, and Amanda Sauer-Cook, a center judge who most recently worked with the Big Ten (NCAA).
- Sebrina Brunson, a field judge, and Tangela Mitchell, a head line judge, who most recently worked with the Southwestern Athletic Conference (NCAA).
Sarah Thomas was the NFL’s first female official who debuted during the 2015 season. She remains the only on-field female officials in the NFL. In addition to Valenti, who worked with the NFL since 2018, the league brought in Yvonda Lewis to work in the replay room last in 2019.
Even the Alliance of American Football put forth a concerted effort to diversify their officiating staff, during their lone season, Chaka, DeLorenzo, and Sauer-Cook were a part of the officiating crew. Now the XFL has continued that commitment to diversity and doubled the number of on-field female officials.
The XFL kicks off on February 8th, an announcement of week one officials has yet to be made, but the information will be available via XFL News Hub.