A month after announcing its plans to hire full-time referees for the first time, the National Football League has released the names of 21 professional game officials, several of whom are alumni of historically black colleges and universities.
— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) September 6, 2017
Four HBCU alumni – Morehouse College’s Jerome Boger, Grambling State University’s Julian Mapp, Morgan State University’s Boris Cheek and Howard’s Greg Steed, will serve as permanent referees, line, side and back judges for the 2017-18 season. According to NFL officials, the move for permanent officiating in the league is a step towards a stronger gameday product for America’s most popular sport.
“We believe that we will learn a great deal over the course of this initial year working with the full-time game officials, said NFL Senior Vice-President of Officiating Alberto Riveron. “Our collective goal is to make a positive impact on NFL officiating overall.”
The four HBCU graduates boast an average of 17 years of experience in NFL officiating, with Cheek having served the longest tenure of 22 years. Boger, Cheek and Steed have all served as officials for Super Bowls.