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Original Issue

Sarah Thomas


What's thebarrier she broke?
Thomas became the first woman to officiate a game involving a Division I-Ateam, when she worked as a line judge in Memphis's home game againstJacksonville State on Sept. 15. The 33-year-old pharmaceuticals sales rep andmother of two has worked Mississippi high school games for 11 years but hadnever done a college game. She was discovered by Conference USA's coordinatorof officials at an officiating clinic in June and is scheduled to work anotherconference game this season.

Was she a jockbefore becoming a zebra?
The first athlete at Pascagoula (Miss.) High to earn five varsity letters inone sport (softball, which she began playing in eighth grade), the 5'11"Thomas was also a hoops standout at the University of Mobile, finishing fourthon the school's career steals list.

How'd she do inher I-A debut?
Thomas made no controversial calls and drew praise from both coaches;Jacksonville's Jack Crowe said she was "not uncomfortable around a footballor football players." Said Thomas, "I felt extra pressure because ofthe media attention on the game. But as my supervisor told me, 'When the gamestarts, it's just 60 minutes of football.' That's where my concentrationwas."