College football needs its own ‘Rooney Rule’

Diversity is lacking in NCAA FBS Division 1 college football where African Americans represent only 10 percent of 130 head coaching jobs

Former Oregon head coach Willie Taggart lasted one season with the Ducks before taking the head coaching job at Florida State University. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman for News4usonline

When it comes to leadership positions in collegiate sports across the board, white men dominate the scene. In college sports, democracy give way to totalitarianism in the form of the white men united club. That’s why The Institute for Diversity and Equality in Sport (TIDES) gives college athletic leadership a resounding D plus overall grade in its 2017 D1 FBS Leadership College Racial and Gender Report Card.

When it came to gender hiring practices, the 130 NCAA Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools actually did worst, earning an “F” mark from the report card.

Stanford’s David Shaw is one of the few African American head coaches in NCAA FBS Division 1 college football. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman for News4usonline

“A student in any of these institutions of higher education would either be expelled or put on probation with this record,” said TIDES Director Dr. Richard Lapchick.

Diversity in the workplace has recently has been given credit for one of the reasons why some businesses have been doing better. Studies have shown the benefits of diversity are numerous as it can help to advance fiscal success, be the key to a more experienced and competent staff, and show how people from different backgrounds can help solve problems in today’s world using different perspectives.

However, while diversity in the workplace seems to be increasing in lots of different places of employment, it has appeared to remain stagnant in terms of head coaching positions in college football.  There are 130 FBS schools. This means that there are 130 head coaches for the teams of those schools. Over the past three years, representation for people of color as head and assistant coaches has stayed dormant with little to no change in sight.

“The terribly low grades recorded in 2017 reflect the stagnation of movement and the continued dominance of white men in the leadership roles affecting who is hired in college sport’s top coaching jobs,” Lapchick added in a released statement that appears on the TIDES website.

Former Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets head coach Herman Edwards will be coaching Arizona State in the Pac-12 Conference. Dennis J. Freeman for News4usonline

TIDES annually releases racial and gender report cards for various sports institutions throughout the country including the NBA, WNBA, NFL, and college sports. These reports grade these organizations based on their gender and racial hiring practices and use statistics to grade them. The statistics gathered by Lapchick and his TIDES staff highlights whether or not there has been improvement in diversified hires and practices in the sports world.

College football is at the top of the list when it comes to lack of diversity perpetrators.  Nine of the 10 FBS conference commissioner seats are occupied by white men. According to the TIDES 2017 D1 FBS Leadership College Racial and Gender Report Card, only the hire of USA Conference Commissioner Judy MacLeod in 2015, break up the all-boys club. A person of color has never held a conference commissioner position.

Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty of this report card. African Americans made up 55 percent of all football student-athletes during the 2017 season. Yet only 14 black men were in charge of running NCAA FBS Division 1 programs as head coaches (10.8 percent). In contrast, white men held 86.9 percent of the 130 head coaching jobs available. The notable disparity had a trickle down effect in the assistant coaching ranks as well.

Of the 1,431 assistant coaching positions that were open at the start of the 2017 college football season, white men claimed 63 percent of those jobs. Black men occupied 33.7 percent of those jobs, a slight increase from the year before. The lack diversity in college sports isn’t something new. During the 2014 season, the percentage of head coaches that was represented by people of color at the FBS NCAA Division 1 level was at 11 percent. Non-white assistant coaches topped off at 28.4 percent.

The percentages were nearly the same in the 2015 season as the number of head coaches of color inched up to 12 percent. Minority assistant coaching opportunities dipped to 27.8 percent. In 2016, people of color took 12 percent of the head coaching football jobs. The percentage for assistant coaches jumped to 33.8 percent.

Judging by the statistics accumulated by TIDES, the coaching ranks at the 130 FBS schools merely reflect the real shot-callers at these institutions of higher learning. White men make up 72 percent of college presidents at these schools. Eighty-three percent of all athletic directors are white. White men (77 percent) own most of those jobs.

“The people holding these leadership positions do not look like America,”  Lapchick said. “Sadly, college sports remain behind professional sports regarding opportunities for women and people of color for the top jobs.”

About Akash Caveney 4 Articles
Akash Caveney currently attends Cal State Long Beach University as a full-time student.