The NFL and its referees are mired in a stalemate over a new labor agreement. WIth the officials locked out and talks at an impasse, the league is preparing to use replacement referees recruited from the ranks of high school and junior college officials. If the NFL starts the season with the replacement refs, one of them could be the first on-field female referee in the history of the NFL.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times reported the news on Saturday morning:
If NFL uses replacements, history could be made. One of the stand-ins is ref Shannon Eastin, in line to be first female on-field official.— Sam Farmer LA Times (@LATimesfarmer) July 21, 2012
Replacement officials were in Dallas on Friday for a training session with the league.
The labor agreement between the NFL Referees Association lapsed on June 3, at which point the NFL locked out officials. The NFLRA has criticized the league's decision to use replacement officials, while the league maintains that the replacements can be effective.