News Column

Minority Leadership Gains Stall in College Football

Nov 28, 2012

Craig Davis

College football has made notable gains in recent years in minority hiring for leadership positions, including coaches, but remains overwhelmingly white and male, according to a study released Wednesday by the University of Central Florida.

This year's report by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) showed a decline at Football Bowl Subdivision schools in the percentage of women in campus leadership positions with a slight increase in the representation of people of color, notably for Latinos and Asians.

There were 18 minority head coaches among the 120 FBS schools in 2012, down one from the previous year. The total of African-American coaches (14 this season) declined again when Jon Embree was fired Sunday at Colorado.

"With an all-time high of 19 head football coaches of color in last year's report, we expected to see continued progress in the diversity of FBS head coaches," said Richard Lapchick, director of TIDES and principal author of the report.

Of the 41 African-Americans who have been head coaches of FBS schools, 24 were hired since the initial Black Coaches and Administrators Football Hiring Report Card in 2004. Four of them are at schools currently ranked in the BCS Top 25 -- Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M), David Shaw (Stanford), Charlie Strong (Louisville) and Darrell Hazell (Kent State).

But the firing of Embree after going 4-21 in two seasons at Colorado raised the issue of whether black coaches receive less leeway than white counterparts. Former Colorado coach Bill McCartney said that is the case during an interview said this week on ESPN radio in Denver.

McCartney, who is white, pointed out that he received a contract extension at Colorado in 1984 after winning only seven games in his first three seasons.

"Honestly, I believe it's because I'm Caucasian. I believe black men have less opportunity, shorter time if you will," McCartney said in the interview.

Lapchick said that historically African-American coaches have been hired by programs that were down and not ripe for a quick fix. Colorado, which hasn't produced a winning season since 2005, was 5-7 the year before Embree took over.

In addition, minority coaches who fail are usually one and done. Tyrone Willingham is the only Africa-American coach to be let go by a FBS school and rehired by another.

"On the issue of African-American football coaches' opportunities, it's improved enormously. What happens once they get there we've still got to work on a little bit, I think," Lapchick said.

The TIDES study examined the race and gender of conference commissioners and campus leaders, including college and university presidents, athletics directors and faculty athletics representatives. Most of the leadership positions remained the same or had close to a one-percentage point increase for people of color since 2011.

"The fact is that 90 percent of our presidents are white, 87.5 percent of our athletics directors are white, and 100 percent of our conference commissioners are white. ... The stagnant nature of diversity in campus leadership does not reflect the America that we know," Lapchick said.

The number of Latino and Asian head coaches increased by one each with the hiring of Rich Rodriguez at Arizona and Norm Chow at Hawaii.

Florida International's Mario Cristobal is the only Latino coach aside from Rodriquez. FIU's Pete Garcia is one of four Latino athletic directors.

Three of the 18 women presidents are at Florida schools: Miami's Donna Shalala, Florida Atlantic's Mary Jane Saunders and South Florida's Judy Genshaft.

"College sport still lags behind professional sports with opportunities for women and people of color for the top jobs," Lapchick said.



Source: (c)2012 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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