The XFL Set A Precedent
The XFL had a lot of great momentum before having to shut down due to the global pandemic. Just like the last time around, the league may be best remembered for some open-minded advancements. One that sticks out is a new standard for inclusivity for officiating staff. According to an article in the USA TODAY…
“XFL head of officiating Dean Blandino told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday that each of the startup league’s six officiating crews will have at least one female member, a significant move toward gender inclusivity in a role — officiating professional football — that has largely consisted of white men.”
Blandino is dedicated to creating more opportunities for female officials and minority officials. He recognizes that the XFL is a platform for officials to gain more attention and potentially gain recognition from the NFL. All six officiating team crews of the XFL had at least one female member in it. They looked for qualified, good officials but made inclusivity is a key decision factor. According to the Football Zebras, the XFL was able to find great female refs from the college ranks.
“The six women working on XFL crews this spring are line judge Maia Chaka and side judge LaShell Nelson from Conference USA, line judge Robin DeLorenzo and center judge Amanda Sauer-Cook from the Big Ten officiating consortium, and field judge Sebrina Brunson and headline judge Tangela Mitchell from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.”
Whether the XFL returns for a second season is very much up-in-the-air but the lasting impact of the league may just be that it was the first professional sports entity to mandate opportunities for women.