The NCAA has released a pledge “urging college presidents and chancellors, as well as conference commissioners, to ‘specifically commit to establishing initiatives for achieving ethnic and racial diversity, gender equity and inclusion with a focus on hiring practices in intercollegiate athletics.’” If a conference or college does not sign the pledge, no punishment will ensue.
Pushing a voluntary mandate on colleges is always hard. Yet in still 180 presidents and chancellors have already signed the pledge, "including 58 from Division I institutions, 63 from Division II and 62 from Division III.“ In addition commissioners from 35 athletic conferences have also signed. A few notable conferences exceptions include the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and Big Ten.
Many who support diversity in college athletics were looking for an NCAA version of the NFL’s Rooney Rule. In the NFL, all teams are required to interview at least one person of color before deciding to hire a coach or high level official. The rule has been successful and credited with helping to increase diversity in the coaching realm within the league. Unfortunately a non punishable pledge is what they got.
According to a study published by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, "78.9 percent of presidents at the 128 Football Bowl Subdivision colleges were white men, as were 79.7 percent of athletics directors” in today’s NCAA. “About 7 percent of athletics directors were women, and all of them were white. Nearly 90 percent of faculty athletics representatives were white.”
For women things are different. In the last four decades women athletics has seen a big increase in gender representation since Title IX was passed. "The percentage of women’s teams being coached by women has fallen from 90 to 40 percent" while college female athletes have increased 500%.
A pledge with no sanctions cannot work in today’s athletic environment. A legislation backed with some type of force is the only answer for an association looking to follow the NFL’s Rooney Rule. Hopefully this first step will lead to better legislation around the subject.
…Now about college athletes getting paid….