When Catherine Conti takes to the field for the Kansas and Southeast Missouri college football game, she will become the first female to officiate a Big 12 match-up.

Big 12 Gets First Female Official

Conti’s hiring, according to Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, has nothing to do with her gender. Rather, Conti has been bumped up to the conference due to her past performances as an official. Furthermore, Bowlsby stated that having a woman as part of an official crew will largely go unnoticed.

"She's a darn good official," Bowlsby said, according to Fox Sports. "It's a good opportunity for her and for us. And I don't think you'll really notice much about how the officiating is done on the game."

University of Kansas coach Charlie Weis is unconcerned about Conti helping to officiate his squad’s game against Southeast Missouri. He did, however, suggest he feels obligated to behave more respectfully towards her because she's a woman.

"I'll try to watch my language. I believe in the old-fashioned way so I'll try not to use as many bad words,” Weis said at a press conference. “But it means nothing to me. It’s great that a woman is put in a position where she 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 all power to her. And that’s an honest answer."

Conti’s Big 12 debut will take place when the Jayhawks play the Redhawks on Sept. 6.


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