Racial and Gender Report Card for College Sports Shows Mixed Results

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by Lois Elfman

 

Richard Lapchick

Dr. Richard E. Lapchick, director of TIDES and chief author of the report card, says big-time college football needs to enact an “Eddie Robinson rule” to bolster minority hiring.

College sport received the grade of B for both racial and gender hiring practices in The 2012 Racial and Gender Report Card: College Sport released today by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES). When compared to all the professional sports for which TIDES publishes racial and gender report cards, college sports lags behind all pro sports in racial hiring practices and is only better than the NFL and Major League Baseball for gender hiring practices.

White males still hold 100 percent of the conference commission positions at the 11 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conferences. White males also dominated the position of athletic director (87.5 percent), especially at the 120 FBS schools, where just nine African Americans (7.5 percent), four Latinos (3.3 percent) and four white females (3.3 percent) are athletic directors.

“They need to enact what I’ve been calling an ‘Eddie Robinson’ rule,” said Dr. Richard E. Lapchick, director of TIDES and chief author of the report card, referring to the late football coaching legend at Grambling State who compiled the second best winning record at Division I.

“At the individual school level, when there are coaching hiring decisions to be made as well as athletic director positions and even associate athletic director positions, it has to be mandated that the schools bring in a diverse pool of candidates,” explained Lapchick.

Failure to comply with such a rule would result in the NCAA penalizing the institutions with loss of scholarships. Major League Baseball and the NFL instituted such a rule (in 1999 and 2001 respectively) that resulted in dramatic change in the diversity of hires.

“The implementation of those rules changed the dynamic of professional sport and we need that at the college level,” said Lapchick.

Another statistic in the report that is of considerable concern is the decline in the number of African American Division I head men’s basketball coaches. In this 2012 report, 18.6 percent of head coaches are African American. This is a decline from 18.8 percent in the 2010-11 season and down 6.6 percent from the 2005-06 season, when African Americans held 25.2 percent of the Division I men’s basketball head coaching positions.

“It’s important to keep the spotlight on and keep the pressure on,” said Lapchick. “Nobody even looked anymore who colleges were hiring because the rates were so high of significant hires of African Americans. Now to have dropped to 18.6 percent is terribly worrisome. It shows what happens when you don’t pay attention. There were too many years—until a couple of years ago—that we weren’t paying attention.”

In terms of breaking through the wall of conference commissioner and athletic director positions, Lapchick said it will take an institution willing to not only give a person of color or woman a chance, but also to put the resources behind that person. Success will breed success.

Whites also held the overwhelming number of athletic director positions at non-FBS Division I institutions as well as at Divisions II and III.

The report card provides racial and gender grades for the position of Sports Information Director, both F’s, but that wasn’t calculated in the final overall grade.

Student-athletes remain a diverse population that isn’t mirrored in the coaching ranks. Forty years after Title IX, women held 38.6 percent of the head coaching jobs in Division I women’s sports.

“For me, the crucial point to emphasize is what happens when we don’t pay enough attention, such as in men’s college basketball,” Lapchick said. “A position we thought was going to be a fair and level playing field for coaches of color to get opportunities and has been reversed … to some degree without people really noticing until the past couple of years.”

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