It’s the same old story when it comes to college sports administration — it’s still a White man’s world. The University of Minnesota’s key leadership positions, along with those of the other 100-plus Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools, have “remained overwhelmingly White and male,” says the latest report by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES).
The recently released TIDES study is an annual examination of race and gender among league and campus leaders, including college and university presidents, athletics directors and faculty athletics representatives as well as football coaches, players and faculty for all 126 FBS institutions.
“These disproportionally White percentages” include all 11 FBS conference commissioners who are all White men, and over 80 percent of the school presidents and athletic directors are White males as well. They “do not reflect who is
playing on college sport teams” despite the fact that over half of the players are Blacks, notes report author Dr. Richard Lapchick.
Whether intentional or not, Minnesota’s all-White athletics administration sadly serves as extreme example of a non-diverse reflection of the school’s athletic student body. Deputy Athletics Director Beth Goetz said as much to the MSR last month after an appearance at a Tucker Center event: “We need more diversity in our leadership here at the University of Minnesota.”
Furthermore, Lapchick’s 2014 findings resemble last year’s report save for “slight increases” of people of color in this year’s campus leadership jobs: a 1.6 percent increase in ADs of color (from 15.2 to 16.8 percent) and a 0.7 percent increase among presidents of color. The only exceptions to White campus leaders at FBS schools are six Black men and one Black woman among the 126 presidents; 14 Black men (no Black women) among the 125 athletics directors; three Black men and three Black women among the 130 faculty athletic representatives; and four percent of the full-time faculty who are Black.
As for on-field positions, 11 of 126 head football coaches (8.7 percent) are Black and 414 of 1,478 assistant football coaches (28 percent) are Black, while almost 53 percent of the nearly 14,000 football players are Black.
Why isn’t the sports media challenging this annual lack of diversity among college sports higher-ups rather than self-appointing themselves as de facto lobbyists for who should get fired and get hired? If over half of the players are Black, why aren’t even Black coaches reflective of this diversity?
If we can twice elect a Black president, why can’t the Gophers hire more than one non-White person occasionally on the administrative staff?
Bob Dylan once sang that the answer is blowin’ in the wind, but when questioning the persistent lack of diversity among this century’s college sport top administrators, the wind is not the place to look. That answer is grounded in the fact that it’s still a White man’s world. Until that changes, Lapchick will annually tell us the same old story.
Another winning bid
Minneapolis last week beat out seven other cities and won the bid to host the 2019 Men’s Final Four at the still-under-construction Vikings stadium. Meet Minneapolis CEO Melvin Tennant was the only person of color on the steering committee. He was heavily involved in the winning 2018 Super Bowl bid as well.
“Melvin did a great job in the presentation” that was made last Tuesday in Indianapolis, admits U of M Athletics Director Norwood Teague, who briefly spoke to the MSR after last Friday’s announcement. “He played a huge part in the process.”
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.