Violet Palmer
First Female Referee
National Basketball Association (NBA)

Cal Poly Pomona

BS, Recreation Administration (1988)
  • Made history nearly two decades ago when she walked onto the floor of an NBA game. In 1997, she became the first woman to officiate in the NBA and in any major professional sport in the United States.
  • At Cal Poly Pomona, helped lead the women’s basketball team to the NCAA Division II National Championships in 1985 and 1986
  • After graduation, worked as a recreation director for the city of Los Angeles. Palmer also began officiating high school girls’ games, eventually officiating five NCAA Women’s Final Four games and two Women’s National Championships.
  • In 1995, she joined the NBA’s referee training program and has worked more than 900 regular-season games. In 2014, she officiated the NBA All-Star Game.
  • Since 2009, Palmer has been coordinator of women’s basketball officials for the Pac-12, the West Coast Conference and the Western Athletic Conference.

Notable CSU Alumni in athletics