Diversity is not where it’s at when it comes to leadership in college athletics. That’s because college athletics is still governed by an old adage that blankets out people of color, according to the latest report put out by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES). According to the new study released by TIDES on April 2, white men still dominate the positions of leadership in college sport.
The discouraging sign of the new study is that it shows that big-time sports on college campuses illustrated little or no improvement in bringing people of color and women into leadership positions within the last couple of years. As a result, TIDES gave schools a C when it comes to racial hiring practices. Universities received a flat-out F when it comes to employing women in key positions.
The report by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida, positions of influence within Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools and conferences remain overwhelmingly controlled by white men. This year’s report once again showed a drastic underrepresentation of women and people of color in campus leadership positions which resulted in another combined grade of a D for race and gender on the Racial and Gender Report Card (RGRC).
This is, by far, the lowest overall grade in all the 2019 Racial and Gender Report Cards. Richard Lapchick, Director of TIDES and principal author of the report, observes that “The lack of representation of women and people of color has been a consistent issue within the arena of college sport. Overall, the grade for racial hiring practices was a C. It was 1.0 percentage point lower than last year’s report which also resulted in a C. The grade for gender was an F, the same as the 2018 grade.”
Lapchick added that “A student at any of these institutions of higher education would either be expelled or put on academic probation with these marks. The dominance of white men at the top has actually increased. New to the 2019 report, the title of university chancellor has been added to the president category. The representation of people of color holding a chancellor or president position decreased from last year’s report. There was also a slight decrease of women. This resulted in a D for race and F for gender.”
As for athletic directors, the number of women that held this position decreased while the number of people of color in this position increased. This resulted in a B for race and an F for gender. There was an increase in the number of faculty athletic representatives who were women resulting in a B- for gender compared to last year’s grade of a C. There was also an increase in faculty athletic representatives of color resulting in a C+ grade for race, compared to a C in 2018.
The TIDES’ study includes conference commissioners and campus leaders, including college and university presidents and
chancellors, athletic directors, and faculty athletic representatives from the 130 institutions that make up Division 1 FBS. The study also included head football coaches, assistant coaches and student-athletes for the football teams. Unlike past reports, the racial categories used to analyze 2019 data included white,
African-American, Latino/Latina, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander and two or more races. Due to the addition of several categories new to this report, data for these could not be compared to previous years and other racial categories may have been impacted.
In 2019, the representation of people of color remained low at the head football coach position across Division 1 FBS. African-American men represented only 10 percent of head coaches compared to 48.5 percent of football student athletes.
“The consistently low grades recorded in 2019 reflect the lack of growth of diversity in FBS leadership, and the continued inequity in sport,” Lapchick said. “As more athletes become “athlete activists,” they are becoming more cognizant of the negative effects that result from exclusion. The results again do not reflect the far more diverse composition of students and student-athletes at colleges and universities across the country.
As the 2019-20 report illustrates, 88.5 percent of chancellors and presidents were white, 80.8 percent of athletic directors were white, 83.6 percent of faculty athletic representatives were white, and 80 percent of conference commissioners were white,” Lapchick added. “Additionally, 77.7 percent of chancellors and presidents, 76.2 percent of athletic directors, 52.9 percent of faculty athletic representatives, and 70 percent of conference commissioners were white men.”
On a positive note, two African-American men were hired to serve in conference commissioner roles to add diversity to the historically all-white position within FBS conferences. Kevin Warren of the Big Ten Conference, and Keith Gill of the Sun Belt Conference were
hired in 2019, marking the first time that any person of color held the position.
Also, the number of athletic directors of color totaled 24 (18.5 percent), a 3.1 percentage point increase reaching its highest percentage since this report was first published. Overall, whites held 337 (84.3 percent) of the 400 campus leadership positions reported in this study,
which was a slight decrease from 85.4 percent in 2018.
“I challenge the leadership at all colleges and universities to mirror the heterogeneous makeup of their students and
student-athletes. The people in these leadership positions hold a responsibility to adequately represent those who they lead. Unfortunately for collegiate sports, specifically the FBS institutions, the overrepresentation of white men has contributed to the lack of opportunities for women and people of color,” Lapchick said.
Study released by The Institute for Diversity and Ethic in Sport (TIDES)
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