Shannon Eastin, who made history last week when she officiated the NFL preseason game between the San Diego Chargers and Green Bay Packers, is a product of the MEAC. Eastin, a MEAC official since 2009, became the first female to officiate an NFL game.
“We are proud that Ms. Eastin will get her opportunity to realize a dream of getting to the highest level in football by working on an NFL sideline,” MEAC Commissioner Dennis Thomas said in a statement shortly before Eastin’s debut. “Former MEAC officials have long demonstrated their competency, talents and skills in the NFL. We believe in providing opportunities to qualified people regardless of gender or race.”
Eastin joins a long line of MEAC alumni that has serviced the top athletes in professional football. Currently the MEAC has 11 former officials working NFL sidelines and four more in the league office.
The MEAC has led the way for female officials in Division I FCS football, formerly Division I-AA. In 2002, Annice Canady made history by becoming the first-ever female to officiate a Division I football game when she served as a line judge in a non-conference matchup featuring Benedict College and South Carolina State. Canady’s historic achievements continued when she became the first woman to serve as a play-clock operator during Super Bowl XLI featuring the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears on Feb. 1, 2007.
Canady’s opportunity forged the way for Sebrina Brunson, who joined the MEAC ranks in 2007 and later by Eastin in 2009. The MEAC’s three female officials have been the