Report: Minorities, Women Losing Ground in Sports EmploymentNEW YORKWomen and minorities are losing ground in professional and college sports employment, reversing a trend toward greater diversity, according to a study released last month.Every professional sport had lower averages for employing women compared with the last “Racial and Gender Report Card” two years ago, and minority hiring slipped in pro and college sports, the study found. “While we are creeping toward fair play, we still have a long road ahead,” says sports sociologist Dr. Richard Lapchick, author of the report published by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. Only baseball, the NBA and NHL improved their grades for minority hiring compared with the 2001 report. The 12th issue of the report card studied players, coaches and front office/athletic department employees of major league baseball, the NFL, NBA, NHL, WNBA, Major League Soccer and college sports. It found: • Minorities (Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Pacific Islanders and American Indians) lost ground in most of the top management positions in college and professional sports, including general managers, team vice presidents and college athletic directors. • The percentage of Black men playing college and pro sports continued its decade-long decline in all sports except college and pro basketball and college baseball. • The percentage of international players continued to grow in major league baseball, the NBA, NFL and soccer. • Women held less than 45 percent of the head coaching positions for women’s college teams in all NCAA divisions. “This is a disappointing reversal from the 2001 report, when historically best hiring records were noted both on the basis of race and gender,” says Lapchick, who has been tracking gains and losses by women and minorities in sports for 14 years. Two of the most noteworthy highlights from the report, Lapchick said, were that: • Black Entertainment Television founder and CEO Robert Johnson was awarded the right to purchase the NBA’s new Charlotte, N.C., franchise, which made him the first Black majority team owner in pro sports. • There was an all-time high of 24 head coaches/managers who were minorities in the three biggest professional leagues. The WNBA got the highest combined grade for race and gender at A-minus, the NBA got a B-plus, and the NCAA a B. Major league baseball, the NFL, NHL and Major League Soccer all received combined grades of C on the report card. The report card issues grades in relation to overall patterns in society. Thus, with minorities accounting for about 24 percent of the population, an A was achieved if 24 percent of the positions were held by minorities, a B if it was 12 percent, and a C if it was nine percent. For issues of gender, an A was earned where 45 percent of employees were women, a B for 40 percent, a C for 35 percent, a D for 30 percent and an F for anything below that.
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