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When it comes to African-American hiring, colleges still have work to do

Annual report shows a lack of black coaches, athletic directors and university presidents

A group at the University of Central Florida’s College of Business Administration released its annual report on racial and gender diversity in college sports on Wednesday, once again highlighting the lack of African-Americans in prominent positions at universities across the country.

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, led by scholar and author Richard E. Lapchick, published its 2017 Racial and Gender Report Card on college sports, giving the NCAA a 78.3 score, or C-plus, for racial hiring practices.

That score is down from 78.5 in 2016 and makes college sports the only entity covered by the institute to receive lower than a B rating in regard to race.

Despite black athletes accounting for a majority or plurality in Division I football (55.9 percent), men’s basketball (53 percent) and women’s basketball (45.4 percent), white men and women are still overrepresented among college sports administrators and coaches while hiring of blacks across major sports remained stagnant.

Whites hold 86.5 percent of all head coaching jobs in Division I, while blacks sit at 7.6 percent, down slightly from last year (7.7 percent). Black men made up 22.4 percent of all men’s basketball head coaches in 2017, up from 20.8 percent in 2016, while black women accounted for 11.4 percent of women’s basketball head coaches, slightly up from the 10.9 percent from last season. (There were 35 black women head coaches in 2016 and 37 in 2017.)

There has been progress in hiring in Divisions I and II — the number of white head coaches in all sports decreased in those two divisions — but there are still so few blacks at those levels that women coaching men’s sports outnumber black men 6.2 percent to 5 percent.

The number of black university presidents across all 130 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools decreased from six to five, with only one, Ohio State’s Michael Drake, hailing from a Power 5 conference (Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12, ACC). The five black presidents were:

  • Western Michigan’s Edward B. Montgomery
  • Central Michigan’s George E. Ross
  • Ohio State’s Drake
  • Southern Mississippi’s Rodney Bennett
  • Middle Tennessee State’s Sidney McPhee

There were zero black female presidents in all of FBS.

Most striking of all pertaining to diversity among administrators is that of the 10 FBS football conferences, which have the largest revenues based on the talent of black football players, there are zero black conference commissioners.

Blacks did increase their numbers among athletic directors (up from 8.6 percent in 2016 to 9.4) in Division I, with that number likely to stay the same next year with Auburn’s Allen Greene recently moving over from Buffalo and the planned retirement of California’s H. Michael Williams. Virginia’s Carla Williams is the lone black female athletic director among the Power 5 conferences and one of just four black female athletic directors in Division I. Still, with so few associate and assistant athletic directors (there are 320 black men and women in those positions in Division I out of nearly 3,500 total jobs), the future looks bleak for African-Americans.

“You can see that the athletic directors are overwhelmingly white and male, and the question becomes: Who’s in the pipeline?” Lapchick told ESPN.com. “When you look at the associate and assistant athletic directors, they’re also overwhelmingly white. The pipeline isn’t filled with people who are going to change the numbers.”

Martenzie is a senior researcher for The Undefeated. His favorite cinematic moment is when Django said "Y'all want to see somethin?"