Cat Conti to become first female official to referee Big 12 college football game


(Associated Press)

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced Monday that Catherine “Cat” Conti will officiate the Sept. 6 game between Kansas and Southeast Missouri State, making her the first woman to officiate a game involving a Big 12 team.

Reaction has been generally favorable. Kansas Coach Charlie Weis says he’ll be on his best behavior.

Conti has been a football official since 2000, starting out with high school games before moving her way up through the junior college and Division II ranks. Last season, she reffed some games in the FBS Southland Conference and will be a full-time official for that conference this season. She told FoxSports.com that her goal is to officiate in the NFL, with the chance to call a game in the Big 12 the next big step.

She is not the first woman to officiate an NCAA football game. That honor goes to Sarah Thomas in 2007. Thomas has spent time in the NFL’s developmental program and hopes to be tabbed to call an NFL game this season, CBSSports.com reported last year.

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