Lack of diversity within collegiate sports leadership continues
Editor’s Note: Richard Lapczyk is a human rights activist, racial equality pioneer, sports expert, scholar, and writer.
With all the reports of the NFL stagnating — with three black head coaches for the third year in a row — it’s also important to look at other areas where it’s happened. In college sports, the number of head coaches of color at FBS schools has decreased in 2022. I pointed to owners as the main stumbling block in hiring more black head coaches in the NFL.
I have no doubt that a similar situation exists at the college level. The Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) leadership positions that call for hire – presidents/chancellors and athletic directors – are overwhelmingly white and male. Faculty Athletic Representatives (FAR) also play a role.
And just like in the NFL, where almost 70% of players of color are, 65.7% of college student athletes at the FBS level are players of color.
American colleges and universities continue to show massive underrepresentation of women and people of color in campus leadership positions. All this was covered in2022 FBS Leadership College D1 Report Card on Race and Gender: Lack of Diversity in Collegiate Athletic Leadership Continues— A study released Thursday by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida.
While there have been some notable improvements in 2022 in hiring practices of people of color — more presidents of color from 18.5% to 23.1% and athletic directors of color from 18.5% to 23.1% — influential positions at FBS schools have been WITH for racial recruitment practices and F for gender recruitment practices. This led to a general unification D+ grade. The score for race decreased by 5.2% to 74.4% from 2021 to 2022. Still F, the gender score improved by 6.9 percentage points to 59.9%, up from last year’s result of 53.0%. The overall score improved from 66.3% in 2021 to 67.2% in 2022.
This statistic says it all. It is discouraging that in American institutions of higher learning, 78.6% of chancellors and presidents, 77.1% of athletic directors, 83.6% of athletic faculty members, and 80.0% of conference commissioners were white. That is more than 80% of all these key positions. In addition, 60.3% of chancellors and presidents, 72.5% of athletic directors, 50.0% of faculty athletic representatives, and 70.0% of conference commissioners were white males. The disparity between campus leadership and student-athletes should remain a major issue in FBS institutions. White people held 79.9% of the 402 leadership positions on campus.
“The Report Card is once again a thorough and revealing study of the state of diversity in college sports,” Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Founder and President of Rainbow PUSH, told me after reviewing the report card. “The collegiate world has always served as our society’s think tank and trendsetter for progress and change, yet the NCAA and its hiring practices have not been up to their potential to showcase a positive movement in the sports environment.
“The NCAA cannot escape this worrying trend and the lack of progress in hiring based on race and gender. and an inclusive plan to make this a genuine priority. Each conference must also deliberately uphold fairness and equality, and not continue to spread opportunities in the “old boys network” and omit, lower, or ignore qualified women and minorities in various positions.”
Jackson said the Rainbow PUSH Sports platform has committed to even greater diversity, equality and inclusion initiatives this season, with ongoing programs throughout 2023 led by Athletic Director Joseph Bryant that will create visibility, promote equality and maximize opportunity.
The underrepresentation of women as president, chancellor or athletic director is also a permanent stain on the track record of college sports. Female sports directors at FBS schools make up only 7.7% of the total, and the score in this category remains F. Men continue to make up the vast majority of athletic director positions at 117 out of 131 DI FBS schools.
The report card also includes head coaches and assistant coaches in football, as well as student-athletes in football. FBS top management positions have the most influence when hiring a head football coach. Thus, it is not surprising that the lack of colored coaches as head football coaches at FBS schools has been an ongoing problem. The number of colored head coaches in football has actually decreased by one, from 23 in 2021 to 22 in 2022. The number of black head coaches remained at 13, while the number of Hispanic head coaches decreased by one to five in 2022.
At the start of the 2022 season, 83.2% of head coaches were white, an actual 0.9 percentage point increase from the 2021 report card. There were 22 (16.8%) coaches of color in 2022, down 2.4 percentage points from 2021. Black men make up the majority of coaches of color at 9.9%, followed by Hispanics at 3.8%. Since black and Hispanic student-athletes make up 52.2% of all FBS Division I student-athletes, there are many opportunities to hire more coaches of color to reduce the disparity between the DI FBS student-athlete population and head coaches. .
“For all the noise coming from college athletics after the so-called racial calculation in 2020, including the addition of ADID [athletic diversity and inclusion designee] jobs in most FBS departments, the data for this report exposes the reality of diversity, fairness, and inclusion across the enterprise,” Jeffrey O’Brien, CEO of the Institute for Sports and Social Justice at the University of Central Florida, told me. “The data that confirms C for racial hiring and F for gender hiring should sound the alarm for leaders around the world. The real question is whether it will. The bill is being canceled out of a rethinking of what it means to be diverse, fair and inclusive, because it isn’t.”
Leaders should reflect who they lead. Unfortunately, in college sports, especially in FBS institutions, the over-representation of white men in key leadership positions results in a lack of opportunities for women and people of color. Although the number of women and people of color in leadership positions at FBS institutions is slowly increasing, it should be noted that these numbers do not reflect the student-athlete mix.
To provide the best student-athlete experience and service, those in leadership positions must be able to communicate with student-athletes. The representation of campus leadership positions among FBS Division I colleges and universities clearly does not match the representation of student-athletes in these institutions. For collegiate athletics to thrive and grow, the leaders of these institutions must keep diversity and inclusion at a higher level.
Calling diversity, equality and inclusion a campus priority is not the same as doing it in real time. I call on the leadership of all colleges and universities to reflect the diversity of their students and student athletes in a way that is more fair to all leadership positions.
Richard E. Lapczyk is director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida, author of 17 books and an annual report on race and gender issues, and president of the Sports and Athletic Institute. social justice. He has been a regular commentator for Sportzshala.com on diversity in sports. Follow him on Twitter @richardlapchick and on Facebook.