Cat Conti will be one step closer to fulfilling her goal of being an NFL ref come September when she becomes the first female official to call a Big 12 Conference game.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced in his state of the conference address Monday that Conti will ref the Sept. 6 game between Kansas and Southeast Missouri.
"She is not there because she is a female," Bowlsby said, according to USA Today
. "She is there because she's paid her dues and because she is a really outstanding football official . . . This is a good opportunity for her and a good opportunity for us, and I don't think you'll really notice much about how the officiating is done on the game. But it's significant that she's doing it."
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Conti, who will work full-time for the Mountain West conference this season, started out officiating high school games in her native California in 2000. She climbed the ranks from there and would like to one day make it all the way to the NFL.
"That's the ultimate dream," Conti told USA Today. "But if this Big 12 game is the highest I ever get, it's certainly been a great career."
Conti's role as Big 12 game official won't change much of the happenings on the field but it could affect Kansas coach Charlie Weis' sideline manner.
"I'll try to watch my language," Weis joked. "I believe in the old-fashioned way, so I'll try not to use as many bad words. But it means nothing to me. It's great that a woman is put in a position where they can be put on equal footing with the men, and if I said other than that, I'd be in trouble with my wife. So more power to her."
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