When it comes to diversity in male-dominated sports, it is rare for women to have a prominent role. We are seeing it more in the NBA with female coaches and referees. The NFL has just started including female referees into its system. The XFL's new Head of Officiating Dean Blandino is looking to make a major update before the re-debut of the league.
According to USA TODAY, all six officiating crews of the XFL will have at least one female member in it. This is after Commissioner Oliver Luck and Blandino told FootballZebras the plan for a more diverse staff all around.
"We're trying to create more opportunities for female officials and minority officials," Blandino stated. "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 [officiating] staff."
Here are the six women to be involved in all XFL games:
* Maia Chaka - Line judge from Conference USA. Was chosen to take part in the NFL's officiating program as the first African-American woman.
* LaShell Nelson - Side Judge from Conference USA. Originally a member of the NFL's Officiating Development Program for four seasons. Officiated in a CFL interleague bout v. the NFL.
* Robin DeLorenzo - Line Judge for the Big Ten. Became the first female official to coach a high school football state championship game.
* Amanda Sauer-Cook - Center judge from the Big Ten football crew. The first openly-gay official in a major football league for the AAF.
* Sebrina Brunson - Field judge from the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The first woman to officiate a game involving a Southeastern Conference football team in 2015.
* Tangela Mitchell - Head line judge from the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Featured in Her Turf, a documentary about women succeeding in officiating. Blandino was the executive producer.
The NFL only had one female on-field coach this season in Sarah Thomas. They have also added a few more women behind the scenes. The XFL has been known to hire a plethora of female officials, whether on the field or behind the scenes. Blandino is hoping the XFL's hirings result in change all around football and sports in general.
"It's just very important to have that mix of people, because that creates a better environment," Blandino told USA TODAY. "Just dealing with different types of people, and people from different walks of life, helps you as an official, as well as communicating, dealing with players and coaches. It's just something that we've always thought was very important."
The relaunched XFL season is expected to start in February of 2020, the weekend after the Super Bowl.