Colleges Are Hiring Record Numbers Of White Men, Hurray

NCAA schools receive their worst grade yet on a racial and gender report card

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Apr 07, 2017 at 12:33 PM ET

Universities may foster high-minded ideals of equality and provide opportunities for merit-based advancement beyond one’s socioeconomic class, but that message, however, has not yet reached campus athletic departments.

Here’s the depressing truth: “Colleges not only remain the worst employer for women and people of color in sport, but things may even be worse than ever,” Richard Lapchick, the director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida, wrote on ESPN.com.

TIDES’ recent racial and gender hiring report card indicated a shocking decline in the number of female and non-white coaches receiving jobs in the NCAA. College sports received a C+ for diversity and a C in gender—both down five points in a year on the report card’s 100-point scale.

“We do the report cards to move whoever it is we are looking at to hire more women and people of color,” Lapchick told the Associated Press. “The fact is that we have regressed in racial and gender hiring.

“There is no price that you pay if you continue to hire all white men, and this is overwhelmingly what we’re looking at at the college level,” Lapchick added.

Unlike the recent academic progress report for Sweet 16 basketball teams—in which overall graduation rates had improved, though the underlying numbers showed a concerning and widening racial gap—there’s no positive spin to put on this leadership report card. It’s now been 45 years since Title IX, yet more than 60 percent of women’s teams are coached by men, a stat so staggeringly high it strains credulity. Only 12.4 percent of Division I athletic directors, 12 percent of Division I football head coaches, and 6.5 percent of Division I baseball coaches are not white. Bad, bad, bad.

It’s one thing for an imbalance to persist for years and decades, and it’s even more troubling for it to worsen—especially when there’s been recognition of the problem. This isn’t a secret.

“Everybody seems to be talking about it,” former Michigan State AD Merritt Norvell told ESPN last year, “but nobody is doing anything about it.”

Lapchick, the son of Basketball Hall of Famer Joe Lapchick, proposes that the NCAA adopt their own equivalents of the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which mandates that teams interview minority candidates. Lapchick proposes calling the companion statutes the Eddie Robinson Rule for minority and women coaching candidates (after the famed Grambling football coach), stipulating diversity among all interview pools and at least two-thirds female candidates for women’s teams. He also suggests implementing what he calls the Judy Sweet Rule (after the NCAA’s first female president) which would require women and people of color to be considered for administration positions. These rules seem like the bare minimum that should be done.

Here we are in 2017, and the hiring practices of NCAA universities has hit rock-bottom along gender and racial lines.