Diversity hiring gains remain few and far between

College sport earns an average grade for racial and gender hiring, says the latest report card by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES).

“College sport…faced further challenges…as it experienced decreases in both gender and racial hiring,” wrote TIDES Director Richard Lapchick in the report’s executive summary released April 6.

The combined score of C+ is down from a B on the 2015 Racial and Gender Report Card (RGRC). “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,” according to the report.

(TIDES/MGN Online)

The NCAA, each year, releases a new race and gender demographics report for its member institutions. TIDES use this to examine head and assistant coaches, athletics directors, associate and assistant ADs, senior women administrators and other key positions. It also includes breakdown data at NCAA headquarters, men’s and women’s teams and all three NCAA divisions by race and gender.

Lapchick’s RGRC’s have been a regular prime-time staple in the MSR rather than occasional drive-by mentions by the local mainstream media for two decades. We have consistently called attention to the diversity efforts, or lack thereof, not only in college sport but also pro sports as well, especially the local teams and colleges. In this regard, mainstream media has historically been Johnny-come-lately.

MSR Columnist Ron Edwards easily pointed out last month after the daily Minnesota newspaper used “2,393 words” in their story pointing out that there are no Black head coaches in Big Ten men’s basketball. He has devoted at least five commentaries on this subject, especially since Minnesota fired its last Black coach Tubby Smith in 2013.

Apparently, no matter how much or how long the Black Press maintains a laser-like focus on such issues as poor diversity hiring, only when mainstream media finally decides to covers it, does the issue become “legitimate.”

Richard Lapchick,
TIDES Director (Photo courtesy of TIDES)

Illinois and Indiana both fired their men’s basketball coaches after this season ended, and replaced them soon after. Unless otherwise, the Big Ten men’s head coaching roster this coming season will again be all-White: Out of 28 total head coaches in Big Ten men’s and women’s basketball, only two are Black women.

“Opportunities for coaches of color continued to be a significant area of concern in all divisions,” continued Lapchick.

The TIDES director last week talked by phone to the MSR.

“College sport has gotten worse,” said Lapchick. “Even in the most notable areas — men’s and women’s basketball, and college football, we are below the high point in each one of those categories. We should be moving past the high point every year instead of being behind the high point. I think we have to pay very close attention and make sure that there are more opportunities there for women and people of color.”

Finally, in future columns, Lapchick’s report will be closely examined as part of an upcoming series, solely devoted to the discussion of diversity and racial hiring in sport.   Lapchick will be among several voices who will add their expertise and opinion on this seemingly never-ending issue.

“The fact [is] that we are not moving forward,” he concluded.

Finally –

USA Today last week reported that the March 31 Mississippi State-UConn women’s national semifinals beat a scheduled NBA doubleheader featuring Golden State and San Antonio, and MVP hopefuls Russell Westbrook and James Harden in overnight television ratings.

Both women’s Final Four semifinals contests — Stanford vs. South Carolina that preceded MSU defeating the Huskies in overtime, averaged 1.8 million viewers, while the two NBA games averaged 1.5 million viewers.


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