New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The NFL made it official Wednesday, confirming that Sarah Thomas has been named as its first permanent female official.
Thomas will be a line judge for the 2015 season after officiating in Conference USA since 2007.
The 41-year-old Thomas was one of two women in the NFL's advanced developmental program for referees, which has 21 officials poised to be tapped by the league. Maia Chaka is the other female official at that level.
On Wednesday, the NFL announced nine first-year officials, including Thomas.
"Our incoming officials have all demonstrated that they are among the best in college football," NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said in a statement. "We are excited about having them join us."
In 2007, Thomas became the first woman to officiate a major college football game. She was the first female official on the FBS level and the first to officiate a bowl game, the 2009 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit.
On Nov. 12, 2011, Thomas became the first woman to officiate in a Big Ten stadium, working as a line judge when Northwestern hosted Rice.
Shannon Eastin, an official in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, served as a line judge for the first three games of the 2012 NFL season during an officials lockout.
The other new officials will be side judge Walt Coleman IV (son of referee Walt Coleman), line judge Kevin Codey, head linesman Hugo Cruz, head linesman Bart Longson, umpire Clay Martin, side judge Aaron Santi, field judge Shawn Smith and side judge Jabir Walker.
The complete 2015 NFL roster of officials, including crew assignments, will be announced next month.