College Football
Report: White males dominate FBS school leadership positions
College Football

Report: White males dominate FBS school leadership positions

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 9:33 p.m. ET

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) A study of the racial and gender makeup of leadership and decision-making positions among the 128 Football Bowl Subdivision schools remain overwhelmingly white and male dominated.

The report released Monday by the Institution for Diversity and Ethics in Sports (TIDES) of University of Central Florida found white men hold the vast majority of president, athletic directors and faculty athletic representative positions at FBS schools for the 2016-17 academic year.

''As somebody who has worked at an institution of higher education for 45 years I always hope that we provide wisdom and leadership for the country, particularly in difficult times,'' said TIDES director Dr. Richard Lapchick, the primary author of the report. ''When the leadership in college sports and college presidents don't reflect who the American people are visually then their ability to make sound judgments are not going to be as good as they would be if there were a diverse pool of athletic directors and others.''

Whites comprised 88.3 percent of the presidents, 85.9 percent of the athletic director jobs, 89.4 percent of the faculty representative positions and 100 percent of the FBS conference commissioner jobs at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year. White males make up 75.8 percent of the presidents, 78.9 percent of the athletic directors and 90 percent of the faculty representatives. When Judy MacLeod was named as the Conference USA commissioner in 2015 she became the first woman to lead any of the 11 FBS conferences.


The decision makers are responsible for hiring coaches where the diversity numbers have always lagged. Of the 128 FBS schools, 87.5 percent of the head football coaches are also white males.

''That's actually why we started doing this leadership study is because had the coaching ranks stayed so stagnant for so long then it declined in basketball where they use to be pretty good,'' Lapchick said. ''That's when I decided to look at who is making the decisions.''

The report also showed there was a slight decrease by 0.4 of percentage point from a year ago in women who hold any of the 388 campus leadership positions at the highest level of collegiate sports. The number of people of color holding campus leadership roles actually increased, but only by 0.7 of a percentage point from the 2015 report.

To address the poor hiring numbers, the NCAA adopted The Pledge and Commitment to Promoting Diversity and Gender Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics last September. But the pledge, which was signed by several college presidents, has been widely criticized because it's scene as non-binding and offers no sanctions for not improving the hiring record of university athletic departments.

Lapchick has championed the NCAA adopting a hiring practice similar to the Rooney Rule used by the NFL, which requires that teams interview a diverse pool of candidates. He believes it should be called the Eddie Robinson Rule, named after the former Grambling coach and second all-time winningest coach in college football history.

''It would require a pool of candidates that is diverse so that the presidents and athletic directors would include people of color,'' Lapchick said.


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