BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The officials sprinted around keeping order, throwing flags and even telling the Miles College band to hush once.
It was a typical football game Thursday, except that four of the seven people wearing the black and white stripes were women.
The Southern Intercollege Athletic Conference billed the Division II Miles-Lane game as the first time there had been a majority-female officiating crew — including head linesman Yvonda Lewis, line judge Tangela Mitchell, field judge Sebrina Brunson and back judge Krystle Apellaniz — for an NCAA game.
"They paid their dues," said Harold Mitchell, director of officiating for the SIAC and SWAC. "They've done what's necessary to get in this position. They've earned it. And I'm hoping it will show the world that females can officiate just as well as men, and I'm hoping that more females will take the step to try to become football officials."
Miles won 38-26.
Apellaniz, a first-year SIAC official from Oviedo, had to stop the Miles band from playing when visiting Lane had the ball. "I've never had to do that before," she said. "He warned them on the mic, but they didn't hear him because they were so loud and beautiful."
Grad rates hit high: College athletes are graduating at an all-time high rate, the NCAA announced. Eighty-two percent of athletes in the 2006-07 freshman class earned a diploma within six years, up 1 percentage point from the 2005-06 class. That matched a record.
Graduation rates over the four-year measure, which covers freshmen who entered school between 2003-04 and 2006-07, hit 81 percent, also a 1 percentage point increase and another record, the NCAA said.
Miss. St. 28, Ky. 22: Dak Prescott threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns and caught a 17-yard scoring pass as the host Bulldogs (4-3, 1-2 SEC) held off the Wildcats (1-6, 0-4). Prescott completed a career-high 23 of 34 passes and rushed for 33 yards. Jameon Lewis had a 19-yard TD run, caught a 17-yard scoring pass and threw the 17-yard TD to Prescott on a trick play. It's the second time this season Lewis has had rushing, receiving and passing touchdowns in a game.
Miami Beach Bowl: Marlins Park will host a team from the American Athletic Conference in the Miami Beach Bowl beginning in 2014. The opponent will most likely come from the Mid-American, the Sun Belt or Conference USA. Football hasn't been played on the site since the Orange Bowl was torn down in 2008. Marlins Park opened last year. "These are hallowed grounds," Marlins president David Samson said. "The tradition of college football here should continue."
Maryland: Quarterback C.J. Brown (concussion) and leading rusher Brandon Ross (shoulder) won't play against Clemson. Caleb Rowe will start at QB.
Southern Cal: Linebacker Lamar Dawson (knee) and running back Justin Davis (ankle) are out for the season with injuries that require surgery.
Basketball: The NCAA women's committee is backing a move to a Friday-Sunday Final Four format next season from the current Sunday-Tuesday configuration. The committee also decided that the top 16 tournament seeds should host the first two rounds, a move to bolster attendance. … Jim Lewis was hired as Georgetown's interim women's coach, replacing Keith Brown, who resigned after an investigation into players' accusations of unprofessional conduct and inappropriate language.