A group of diversity officers in college athletics is launching the Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Council of Excellence (DIECE), a support community for new diversity professionals in college sports.
The initiative began with a group of 13 administrators, but now that the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) mandates that schools have athletics diversity staff, it’s welcoming all members who hold the NCAA’s Athletics Diversity and Inclusion Designation (ADID). Their participation will be free this school year, with membership dues in fall 2021.
“Up to this point, having a full-time diversity and inclusion role in sport is extremely rare and unique,” said Sheridan Blanford, council co-founder and director of inclusion at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s athletics department, in a statement. “To ensure that people who are tasked with leading DEI within their sport organizations had support, we took it upon ourselves to create DIECE. The goal was to come together as a collective to make this work a movement, and not a moment.”
The organization will be hosting a public webinar on Wednesday, Aug. 12, during which its board of directors will discuss its vision and answer questions.
“We all must start somewhere, so we wanted to invite ADIDs in and provide a space for them to converse, ask questions, and share resources with other DEI officers in sport,” said co-founder DaWon Baker, diversity and inclusion director at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s athletics department, in a statement. “If we want to collectively move this role, designation, and this work forward, our collective success is vital.”