College sport, according to two new report cards, is doing average in racial and gender hiring. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) and the University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center both released their annual report cards last month.
The Tucker Center’s Women in College Coaching Report Card released February 7 found that 41 percent of women’s teams’ head coaches are female, but a male was hired in 60 percent of vacant head coaching positions. They also found that none of the seven NCAA Division I conferences studied earned above a C grade, and Division III schools have the highest percentage of women head coaches (45.7 percent).
Tucker Center Co-Director Nicole LaVoi told the MSR that the percentage of women head coaches of women’s teams went up for the fifth year: “It’s better than going in reverse,” she noted of the sixth annual report that features Cincinnati Women’s Basketball Coach Janelle Elliott on its cover.
The report looked at 86 “big time” Division I schools, sports and conferences to analyze progress and give out passing and failing grades in gender hiring. Minnesota got a B – the Gophers have nine females and five males as women’s teams’ coaches, one of 17 schools with B grades. Twenty-nine schools each got C’s and D’s, and nine schools failed. Two schools – Cincinnati and South Florida – earned the only A’s.
LaVoi reiterated that the number of A’s has remained the same since 2014-15, and the number of F’s dropped by two from 2016-17. Nonetheless, the number of women head coaches hasn’t changed that much over the six years the Tucker Center has produced their report. “I can’t believe it’s been six years already,” the co-director said.
The 2017 TIDES report card, on the other hand, gave college sport a C-plus for both racial and gender hiring and a C-plus combined grade. This is the second consecutive year for a combined grade of C-plus.
“College sport still had the lowest grade for racial hiring practices and gender hiring practices among all of the college and professional sports covered by the respective Racial and Gender Report Cards,” TIDES Director Richard Lapchick wrote in the February 28 report’s executive summary.
Lapchick’s report also noted Division I men’s coaching opportunities for Blacks continues to be poor (7.6 percent), and not much better in Division II (4.4 percent) and Division III (five percent). Although there’s some increase in Black Division I men’s basketball coaches (up 1.5 percent from 20.8 in 2015-16 to 22.3 percent this year), Whites still make up 84 percent, 91 percent and 94 percent of basketball, football and baseball head coaches in all divisions combined.
Black women head coaches (11 percent) aren’t that much better, the TIDES report continues. “This remains a major area of concern,” Lapchick points out.
The lack of diversity among the decision-making positions in college sport continues as well: Division I conference commissioners remain White-male dominated. Only two women and two people of color are in these roles. Whites “overwhelmingly” are college athletics directors in the high 80’s-low 90’s percentiles in all NCAA divisions, the report revealed.
Speaking by phone last week, Lapchick told the MSR, “I’m not sure when we will get the things [highlighted] in this report drastically changed. College sport continues to do business as usual…to be run by White men.”
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Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.