Study: Hiring practices improving for minorities
The Black Coaches and Administrators gave their highest grade ever to NCAA programs for hiring practices for football coaching vacancies, while cautioning that there is still plenty of room for improvement.
The organization released its annual report card analyzing the minority hiring practices of football coaches Thursday, awarding an overall A grade to 20 of 34 schools that had an opening for a head coach last offseason. That's the highest percentage (59 percent) of any of its seven studies and up from 34 percent last year. There were nine Bs, one C and four Fs.
''We're starting to see the results,'' BCA executive director Floyd Keith said. ''The searches continue to be better, and the result is the numbers - we've practically doubled in one year - speaks very highly of the process and the efforts not only us, but other individuals have made.''
Schools were graded on communication, hiring search, final candidates and time frame. They were notified in advance what the criteria would be each time there was a coaching vacancy.
The report included 20 Football Bowl Subdivision programs and 14 from the Football Championship Subdivision. Three schools did not participate, receiving an automatic F.
There was some positive news with a recent surge of minority head coaches.
Six black coaches were hired at Football Bowl Subdivision schools last offseason, including Turner Gill moving from Buffalo to Kansas. From 1979-2002, a total of 19 full-time black head coaches were hired. Ten have been hired in the past two years alone.
Of the 120 FBS coaches, only 15 are minorities - 13 blacks, one Latino and one Polynesian. There were only nine last year. And while this season is the most ever, it's a number Keith and others do not believe is good enough.
''It's not reflective of society. Not at all. But we are moving in the right direction,'' said Richard Lapchick, the author of the study and the director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University Central Florida.
The pressure has certainly been put on programs to improve.
Keith sent a package and an official e-mail to athletic directors each time there was a documented vacancy for a head coach at their school. He notified them in advance that they would be evaluated on particular criteria by Lapchick.
Three schools - Southern California, Georgia Southern and Western Illinois - chose not to participate in the study. USC had no comment, and Georgia Southern and Western Illinois did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by The Associated Press.
''We are particularly pleased with the developments at the head coaching positions in FBS football, witnessing the highest numbers ever, but challenges remain,'' NCAA executive vice president Bernard Franklin said in a statement.
''It is fair to ask why the numbers are still low, as there are many qualified and talented minority football coaches suitable for head coaching positions,'' he said. ''While institutions ultimately make hiring decisions, the NCAA continues to advocate for an inclusive hiring process to include underrepresented applicants in searches. That allows the best candidates, regardless of race and ethnicity, to be considered.''
Montana was the only school that submitted a survey and received an F. The report concluded the program had failing grades in communication, hiring search and candidate categories.
Princeton, San Jose State, Kansas and Memphis earned perfect scores.
The report did caution a few troubling trends: the percentage of minorities on search committees decreased from 30 percent in 2008 to 23 percent this year, and 29 percent of those who interviewed for openings were minorities, down from 31 percent two years ago.
Keith said he plans to have a meeting with NCAA president Mark Emmert next month to discuss the BCA and its findings.
''We'll encourage him to continue the programming that has been put in place that started back in '03 and '04,'' he said. ''We're starting to see the results.''
AP Sports Writer Cliff Brunt in Indianapolis contributed to this report.