The Buck Stops Here

By The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport
Updated: November 6, 2008

ORLANDO — With the firing of Ty Willingham at the University of Washington and the resignation of Ron Prince at Kansas State, the 2008 regular season of college football will conclude with the controversy over the poor record of hiring African-American Division IA (Football Bowl Subdivision – FBS) head football coaches still continuing to make headlines.

Their departure will leave only four African-American and two other head coaches of color. College football is still far behind other college and professional sports. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida released The Buck Stops Here: Assessing Diversity among Campus and Conference Leaders for Division IA (FBS) Schools in 2008-09.

This study examines the race and gender of conference commissioners and campus leaders including college and university presidents, athletics directors, and faculty athletics representatives for all 120 FBS institutions. The study also includes head football coaches, offensive and defensive coordinators, assistant coaches, and football student-athletes.

Finally, the faculty as a whole is examined.

Richard Lapchick, who is the primary author of the study as director of T he Institute, said, “The leadership which is the power structure in college sport remains overwhelming white.”

“In FBS institutions, this includes 92.5 percent of the presidents, 87.5 percent of the athletics directors, 92.6 percent of the faculty athletics reps, 83.3 percent of the faculty and 100 percent of the conference commissioners. Only 3.5 percent of the faculty are African-American and 3.4 are percent Latino.”

This year’s figures represent a slight change for people of color as presidents (up 0.8 percent), athletic directors (down 0.8 percent), and head coaches (up 0.8 percent).

During the past year the percentage of women serving as president increased by 3.3 percent, decreased for athletic directors by 0.8 percent, and decreased two percent for faculty athletic representatives. Two Latina women and one Asian woman were hired as presidents.

Lapchick went on to say that, “While the percentages are slightly better, the general picture is still one of white men running college sport. Overall, the numbers simply do not reflect the diversity of our student-athletes. Moreover, they do not reflect the diversity of our nation where we have elected an African-American as President for the first time.”

Lapchick concluded, “Last year we noted a promising development when the Division IA Athletic Directors Association agreed to issue hiring guidelines for Division IA head football coaches that will include a commitment to diverse candidate slates.”

“This was a very positive development since ADs, along with presidents, make the hiring decisions. The ADs seemed to be taking ownership over this issue. Yet only Navy (Ken Niumatalolo) and Houston (Kevin Sumlin) hired coaches of color among the 22 FBS schools that hired new head coaches at the end of the 2007 season.”

Since 1996, only 12 African-American coaches have been hired among 199 vacancies, a meager six percent of the total. With the firing of Ty Willingham and the resignation of Ron Prince, there are only four African-Americans left at Mississippi State, Houston, Buffalo and Miami with a Latino at Florida International and a Pacific Islander at Navy.”

This study was co-authored by Catherine Elkins.

Overall, whites hold 329 (90.9 percent) of the 362 campus leadership positions. White women hold 53 (16.1 percent) of these positions. There are 19 African-American men and no African-American women.

There are only two Asian males, two Native American males, six Latino males, one Asian woman and three Latina women, among the 362 people. The average percentage of faculty who were people of color was 16.7 percent and more than half were Asian.

NOTE: For more information, please contact: Jessica Bartter via e-mail at