Photo by Hannah Gibbs on Unsplash

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida released the 2018 College Sport Racial and Gender Report Card (CSRGRC). The report includes information about the racial and gender hiring practices and student-athlete representation at the NCAA and its member institutions

The 2018 CSRGRC report showed a slight improvement compared to the previous years. The college sports’ racial and gender hiring practices were graded B-minus and C-plus respectively and a C+ overall grade.

The report shows that athletic participation opportunities increased 955 percent for female athletes of color from 1971 (2,137 participants) to 2000 (22,541 participants). In scholarship assistance, female athletes of color received approximately $82 million in 1999 compared to less than $100,000 in 1971.

The NCAA has the largest percentage of women at any office that has been reported in any of the 2018 report cards. Women at the senior management level are above 30 percent for the second straight year. The NCAA’s managing directors and directors are more than 47 percent women, while the professional administration staff increased from 50.6 percent to 58.7 percent women.

The NCAA also made progress with hiring people of color for the vice presidents and above positions which increased from 25 percent to 29.4 percent. Managing directors and directors remained at 19.1 percent. People of color hired at the professional administration level increased by 3.4 percent to 22.5 in 2018 from 19.1 percent in 2017.  

More whites were hired at the NCAA conference office to hold 28 of the 30 Division I conference commissions. At Division I, II, and III athletic departments, 84 percent, 90 percent and 93 percent of the athletics directors are white. The Divisions I, II and III associate athletic directors are 85 percent, 88 percent and 92 percent white.

Based on the report, 33.7 percent of student-athletes are people of color and 43.9 percent are female but only 13.7 percent of the head coaches of Division I men’s teams are people of color. For Division 1 women’s team head coaches, only 15.1 percent are people of color, and only 40.1 percent are women.

The worst statistics for diversity in the report is that 47 years after Title IX became law, 59 percent of the women’s teams are coached by men.

The NCAA reported that 77 percent of all schools and 73 percent of all conferences have signed the pledge that their schools will support ethnic and racial diversity and gender equity in their college sports hiring practices. Unfortunately, it appears that the pledge has no teeth.

There were also rules designed to improve and diversify the racial and gender hiring practices in college sports. The NFL’s Rooney Rule requires that interviews for a head coaching vacancy should include at least one diverse candidate. 

The Eddie Robinson Rule requires the inclusion of a diverse pool of candidates for every men’s and women’s head-coaching openings in Division I.

The Judy Sweet Rule also requires a diverse pool of candidates, including people of color and women for all senior administrative positions at the NCAA headquarters and in Division I college athletic departments.

The United Nations, with 193 member states has recently issued a resolution recognizing sports’ power “to change perceptions, prejudices and behaviors, as well as to inspire people, break down racial and political barriers, combat discrimination and defuse conflict social issues”.

So, the world is looking at the sports industry as a moral compass, not only on diversity but also on tough social issues around the world.