By Charles Hallman
Less than 10 percent of Division I athletics directors are women, and only two percent are women of color.
Schools can’t say they can’t find Black women to fill these roles when openings occur. They can’t say that there aren’t qualified candidates, especially since the NCAA regularly holds training opportunities to learn the nuts and bolts of athletics management.
“Until we say that someone is held accountable for diversity and inclusion, it won’t happen,” Black Coaches and Administrators Executive Director Floyd Keith pointed out at a NCAA convention educational session in January.
Some have suggested a Rooney Rule for colleges, but this NFL mandate sometimes is a perfunctory gesture as teams still hire a White head coach. But until current decision makers at these schools, which mainly are White males, learn that to do an expansive search for qualified candidates rather than a “go-to-the-usual-suspects” list to fill athletics administration vacancies, nothing but lip service will occur.
The NCAA national office also announced several strategies including the use of national search firm recruiters to help increase the applicant pool to include more women, Blacks and other women of color.
In other NCAA news:
The NCAA in December locked in a $500 million deal with ESPN to show many of its championships through the 2023-24 school year, and it takes effect immediately. Now the four-letter sports network will add seven more sports — now a total of 24 — including women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s fencing, women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s outdoor track, and women’s bowling.
It also includes more coverage of the preseason and postseason NIT, continued coverage of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, and the College World Series for baseball and softball.
However, nearly a month later the NCAA board voted during its convention in January to delay starting a $2,000 expense allowance to Division I athletes, which previously was approved by the NCAA board last October. A working group will now look into the issue and expect to make a modified proposal in April.
Three key concerns were raised by schools: Title IX compliance, how to apply the stipend to sports that have partial scholarships, and when the rule would be effective.
If a new plan is approved this spring, a 60-day comment period will be given for schools, and opponents could still force an override vote that would further delay the measure. It remains to be seen if it will be adopted any time soon — but the schools still get paid.
Effective August 1, 2012, all new and continuing student-athletes will be tested for sickle cell anemia as part of the mandatory medical exam unless documented results of a prior test are provided, or the student-athlete declines the test and signs a written release.
Members will vote online in February on the proposal for multi-year scholarships. Current scholarships are for one year and are subjected to non-renewal solely on athletic performance.
Members rejected proposed scholarship reductions in football and women’s basketball as well as a ban on foreign trips.
Legislation was approved to expand the definition of agents to include parents.
The Minnesota Lynx re-signed two key members of last year’s championship squad: centers Taj McWilliams-Franklin and Jessica Adair. The Lynx open its 2012 season Sunday, May 20, at home versus Phoenix.
The league regular season kicks off May 18, takes its 2012 Summer Olympics break between July 14 — August 15, and resumes play on August 16. It later ends September 23, and the playoffs begin on September 27.
Two WNBA clubs, Tulsa and Los Angeles, hired new head coaches, replacing their former Black head coaches with White coaches.
Information from NCAA.org, ESPN.com and the Associated Press was used in this report.
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