Black Coaches Say Hiring Progress Too Slow

AP, September 21, 2006

Indianapolis—A leading group of black football coaches is pleased Division I schools are considering more minorities for coaching jobs, but it says improvement is too slow and applying civil rights laws might be a way to speed progress.

“I think we’ll have to put a magnifying glass on searches,” said Floyd Keith, executive director of the Black Coaches Association. “Change is not something that has been as quick as we’d like to see it.”

There are now only 11 minority head coaches among the more than 200 NCAA Division I-A and I-AA schools that are not historically black institutions.

The BCA, in a report card released Thursday, says universities must appoint more minority coaches and more diverse search committees. The group says evidence shows more diverse committees leads to more consideration of minority coaches.

And if that means applying Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, so be it, Keith said during a conference call.

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Among 414 coaching vacancies in Division I-A since 1982, only 21 blacks have been hired, a huge disparity given the number of minority athletes on the playing fields, the BCA said.

“The BCA wants the best candidate to be chosen irrespective of race,” Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida, said in the report’s forward. “With only five African-American head coaches in the 2005 season, college football is emphatically the most segregated position in all of college sport.”

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The 12 A’s were nearly as many as the previous two years combined (13), and Buffalo and Southeast Missouri State each earned perfect scores—A’s in each of the five categories. Kansas State received a lower overall grade because it received an F for the composition of its search committee.

Schools received automatic F’s in categories they did not report on. In some cases, Keith said, the attitude among those schools was one of “Well, we’ll just take the F.”

“You still have people that are resistant to the process,” Keith said.

Four of the schools that responded to the BCA still received F’s for their choice of final candidates.

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“What policy will it take to change the attitudes of institutions that do not feel the need to have open searches or compete for diversity as they do on the field, with stadiums packed to watch diverse athletic participants?” the report asked in its conclusion.

Scores reflected factors such as the number of minority candidates interviewed for jobs, composition of search committees, and compliance with schools’ affirmative action policies. Schools that hire minority coaches received bonus points.

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