With the recent news that Sarah Thomas has been hired as the NFL's first female official, it's time to take a look at the women who are making waves and ascending to new heights in the world of sports.
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY SportsAndrew Weber
One of the UFC's signature stars, her drawing power is enough to carry pay-per-views for the organization. And while she's not the first woman in MMA, she has already risen to the top of the game and currently has no peer. Rousey has also proven to be a goldmine outside the Octagon as she has scored roles in such Hollywood films as "Entourage" and "Furious 7."
Zuffa LLC via Getty ImagesJosh Hedges/Zuffa LLC
The new executive director of the NBA Players Association isn't messing around. She was a near unanimous selection for the job when the disgraced Billy Hunter was ousted from the position in 2014. Roberts made her bones as a fierce trial attorney and she has already made it clear she means business in her new role. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver better be prepared when he sits down at the negotiating table with her.
Getty ImagesPete Marovich
Blackburn is the executive vice president of the Cincinnati Bengals and the daughter of owner Mike Brown. Players and agents around the league know all about Blackburn as her primary job is to negotiate player contracts. Those of us who have watched her on "Hard Knocks" know she won't be intimidated by holdouts and will always strike a fair bargain.
Getty ImagesJoe Robbins
Her official job title? She's the president of Onexim Sports and Entertainment. In layman's terms, she's the conduit between Brooklyn Nets team management and owner Mikhail Prokhorov. As the latter's boots on the ground in the U.S., no critical team decision is made without her involvement.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY SportsJoe Camporeale
Part owner and president of the Los Angeles Lakers, Buss oversees all the business operations for one of the most recognizable and successful sports brands in the world. She also represents the team on the NBA Board of Governors. While she currently oversees basketball operations for the team, decisions on players still belong to her brother Jim Buss. However, many Lakers fans would probably say they would rather see the shrewd Jeanie in charge of the roster in the near future.
Getty ImagesVince Bucci
Palmer made history in 1997 when she became the first woman to referee an NBA game. She survived some early bumps in the road when criticism was directed at her from a few players, but she held on and flourished. She's still going strong and set the standard for women like Sarah Thomas to follow.
Getty ImagesDoug Pensinger
She became the first woman to become a full-time assistant coach in the NBA -- and in any of the "big four" U.S. sports leagues -- when she was hired by the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. Hammon's resume is impeccable as she starred for several years in the WNBA and always stated her desire to enter coaching. Will she become the first female head coach in the NBA someday? We'll have to wait and see.
NBAE/Getty ImagesGarrett Ellwood
As president of the WTA, Allaster has impressed since taking over Larry Scott in 2009. Under her stewardship, the player prize pool has continued to increase.
Getty ImagesClive Brunskill
Is there anything the former Secretary of State can't do? The accomplished politician and Stanford professor made waves when she was named as one of the 13 inaugural members of the College Football Playoff selection committee. Of course, there were cries from people who doubted her credentials, but those are just silly. Rice comes from a football family and knows the game.
Getty ImagesRob Kim
Lesa France Kennedy
The granddaughter of the legendary Big Bill France, Kennedy has continued to carry the tradition of NASCAR as the CEO of International Speedway Corporation. Her company owns 13 tracks around the country, including such legendary names as Daytona, Tallageda, Darlington, Martinsville and Richmond. She is also a member of the board of directors of NASCAR.
Getty ImagesJared C. Tilton
Ng is currently the senior vice president for baseball operations with MLB. She's spent most of her career in baseball as she's held assistant general manager posts with the White Sox, Yankees and Dodgers over the years. And although she never landed a general manager position -- despite interviewing with several teams -- it appears she's managed to step above that and get right into the league office.