Would a Robinson Rule be just another ruse?

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AnotherViewsquareThe only thing I like about a proposed “Eddie Robinson Rule” for college sports hiring is that it is being named for the late Grambling football coach. Otherwise, if the proposed law is modeled after the NFL’s Rooney Rule, I’m afraid it’s a recipe for deception, false hopes and tokenism.

This week’s “Another View” published in the MSR sports section briefly discusses Richard Lapchick’s latest campus leadership report, where it notes again just how White (nearly 90 percent) of the campus leadership positions are.


Here are the latest diversity report’s “lowlights”:

  • Coaches of color decreased by three, from 18 in 2012 to 15 in 2013.
  • There was a two-percent drop in Black head football coaches (now 9.6 percent) from last year even though Black football players at the same time went up nearly three percent.
  • There are 20 Black men and four Black women out of 382 persons in campus leadership positions nationwide, and a 0.4 percent increase among other people of color in such positions. Minnesota has just one in its senior athletics administration and none in support staff roles.
  • Five percent of full-time tenured faculty is Black.
  • Over 78 percent of the nation’s 125 athletic directors at Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools and over 75 percent of its presidents are White men. There are 12 Black ADs and one Black female among the 17 female presidents.
  • 94 percent of the faculty athletics representatives are White. Three of the 39 women in this position are Black.
  • Still the 11 “most powerful and influential people in college sport” — the FBS conference commissioners — remain all White men.

Based on these numbers that Lapchick presented in his January 2 report, increasing diversity unfortunately remains a snail-paced process.

This is why the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) director and others lately have pushed for the NCAA or their member colleges and universities individually to be more intentional diversity-wise in their hiring practices, at least interviewing one Black or other person of color whenever an opening arises.

Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) Director Richard Lapchick
Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) Director Richard Lapchick

“There are individual schools that do it,” said Lapchick in an Associated Press article.  “There is no policy or sanction for schools bringing in all White guys.”

If there was, Minnesota would be among the best at vanilla hiring and among the worst at not finding any Black candidates. Whether it’s present or past administrations, they offer the same old tired excuses that they just can’t find Black candidates like they are S.S. Minnow survivors stuck on some remote island, especially with over 100 HBCUs in the United States, to recruit from.

This reporter’s skeptical side would rather believe that top U of M Athletics officials either aren’t looking hard enough or just don’t want to look any further than their collective noses to fully diversify their staff. Therefore, it’s laughable when they foolishly expect me to believe otherwise.


Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses at challman@spokesman-recorder.com