Study: college sports still trail pros in diversity hiring


A diversity study for racial and gender hiring across college sports found little change in scores that continue to lag behind the professional ranks.

Wednesday’s report card from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at Central Florida assigned an overall C-plus grade, a B for racial hiring and a C-plus for gender hiring for the 2019-20 sports season. Those were the same grades from last year in the report, which examines a range of positions including leadership at the NCAA headquarters, conference commissioners, athletics directors and head coaches across Divisions I, II and III.

The numeric scores fluctuated slightly and remained at the higher end since researchers revised the grading scale for the 2015-16 report to account for changing national demographics.

But they again trailed those of professional leagues reviewed in other TIDES studies: the NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and the WNBA. And it followed last month’s study that reported a significant “underrepresentation” of women and people of color in leadership positions at the Football Bowl Subdivision level of college athletics.

More concerning, lead report author and institute director Richard Lapchick said, was the fact that there has been little progress in many areas from a decade or more ago.

“When you put it in a historical perspective of some of the really important positions, the numbers are barely moving” from past years, Lapchick said in an interview with The Associated Press.

This year’s study found declines in people of color serving as head coaches for all men’s and women’s Division I teams overall, as well as men’s and women’s basketball specifically. The percentage of Division I football head-coaching positions held by people of color increased slightly to 10.6%, up from 10.3% a year earlier.

The study also found that white men continue to hold most positions as athletics director in Division I (72.3%), Division II (70.8%) and Division III (61.6%).

The NCAA headquarters earned high marks with a B-plus in racial hiring for both senior leadership and professional positions, along with an A-plus for gender in each area.

The report’s overall score was a 78.6, down from a 78.7 a year earlier. That came after the racial hiring score (80.2) fell 1.4 points while the gender hiring score (77) climbed 1.2 points.

Still, the lack of broader progress over years stood out.

Lapchick said 76.3% of administrators at the NCAA headquarters are white, a figure that remains almost unchanged from 2000 (76.6%). Whites held 86.5% of positions as Division I conference commissioners for the 2007-08 sports year, and that figure now stands at 86.7%. And women have gone from holding 39.5% of positions as head coach for women’s teams across all three divisions for the 2010-11 season to 41% today, he said.

In a statement, Derrick Gragg, NCAA senior vice president for inclusion, education and community engagement, said the report highlights that “there is still much work to do to infuse inclusion and equality further into athletics.” Gragg also said the NCAA headquarters has worked to diversify its senior leadership while creating the NCAA Leadership Collective to help schools identify minority job candidates.

“As organizations work to provide better diversity and inclusion, athletic leaders can also take significant steps to open more doors to people of color and women,” Gragg said. “There are too many diversity hiring gaps in college sports, and this racial and gender diversity report reveals that.”

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