Aaron Beard | Contributor
Raleigh, N.C. (AP) — A diversity study finds that White men continue to “dominate” leadership positions at the Football Bowl Subdivision level of college athletics.
Wednesday’s report card from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) issued identical letter grades from last year with a D overall, a C for racial hiring and an F for gender hiring. The study examined positions that include university presidents or chancellors, athletics directors, faculty athletics representatives and conference commissioners, using data submitted by the NCAA.
Richard Lapchick, the institute’s director and lead report author, noted there were some positives such as the highest percentage of people of color serving as athletics directors in the study’s history as well as two Black men — Kevin Warren in the Big Ten and Keith Gill in the Sun Belt — becoming the first people of color to serve as FBS conference commissioners.
“Everything else is not good,” Lapchick said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Overall, Whites held 337 of 400 campus leadership positions in the study (84.3%), down slightly from 85.4% last year.
More specifically, White men held 77.7% of president or chancellor positions, up 3.8 percentage points from last year, and 76.2% of the 130 positions as athletics directors, according to the study.
The study’s positive news included 24 people of color serving as FBS athletics directors, up from 20 last year, to account for 18.5% of those jobs and the highest percentage recorded by the study dating to 2002. Women made the most gains as faculty athletics representatives, going from 31.6% of those positions last year to 35.7% this year.
The study also looked at football coaching positions, though Lapchick said those were not included in the grades. The study found the number of football head coaches of color fell by one to 18, representing 13.8% of those positions while people of color represent nearly 60% of football student-athletes.
Lapchick has long backed the creation of rules at the college level modeled after the NFL’s Rooney Rule requiring teams to interview a diverse group of candidates for open positions. The study references the NCAA’s adoption in 2016 of a pledge for schools and conferences to recruit and interview diverse candidates for openings.
But that pledge, signed by 871 schools and 102 conferences as of October, “is not binding” and lacks sanctions for failures to improve that record, according to the study. And Lapchick said the study’s findings have remained “basically the same” since the pledge was adopted.
NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn didn’t immediately return an email for comment Wednesday afternoon.
“You have to mandate a diverse pool of candidates or people are going to take the easy path and get the people they usually know into those interview rooms,” Lapchick said.
“And if you are a White man or a White person, generally speaking, you’re going to know other White men or White people and turn to them, and not know where you could find great African-American athletic directors or an Asian university president or whatever it is you’re looking for. You’ve got to expand the pool.”