The Buck Stops Here

By Dr. Richard Lapchick
Updated: November 17, 2009

ORLANDO — The key leadership positions at Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools and conferences remained overwhelmingly white and male even though there was a record number of nine head coaches of color in the 2009 college football season at the FBS schools (formerly Division IA) according to a new study released by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida.

For 2009, there were seven African-Americans (Turner Gill, University at Buffalo; Ron English, Eastern Michigan University; Kevin Sumlin, University of Houston; Randy Shannon, University of Miami (Florida), Mike Haywood, Miami University (Ohio); Mike Locksley, University of New Mexico; DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State University); a Latino (Mario Cristobal, Florida International University) and an Asian (Ken Niumatalolo, U.S. Naval Academy).

Dr. Richard Lapchick, who is the primary author of the study as director of T he Institute, said, “What is lost in the improvement in numbers is that three BCS jobs were lost in the Pac-10, Big 12 and SEC.

“Adding positions at Miami of Ohio, New Mexico, New Mexico State and Eastern Michigan was important but it is very unlikely that they will ever get a shot at a BCS championship at those schools. America has its first African-American president.”

“Yet our record for hiring football coaches of color is terrible. We do not have an African-American head football coach in the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-10, or Big East.”

The 2008 season was played with eight coaches of color, six of whom were African-American. At the end of the season, Ty Willingham (Washington), Ron Prince (Kansas State) and Sylvester Croom (Mississippi State) were gone.

Four African-Americans were hired as head coaches after the season: Ron English at Eastern Michigan, Mike Haywood at Miami (Ohio), Mike Locksley at New Mexico and DeWayne Walker at New Mexico State.

Lapchick continued, “Even with the record number of head coaches of color, college football is still far behind other college and professional sports.”

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.

Lapchick added, “Women and people of color who seek leadership positions in American higher education and in college sport face enormous odds. The leadership in the power structure in college sport remains overwhelming white.”

“In FBS institutions, this includes 100 percent of the conference commissioners, 93.3 percent of the presidents, 86.7 percent of the athletics directors, 92.6 percent of the faculty athletics reps, 92.5 percent of the head football coaches, and 82.9 percent of the faculty .”

“Only 3.6 percent of the faculty are African-American and 3.7 are percent Latino.”

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

During the past year the percentage of women serving as president increased by 0.8 percentage points, remained the same for athletic directors, and increased by 1.6 percentage points for faculty athletic representatives. An African-American woman was hired as chancellor.

Lapchick went on to say that, “While the percentages are slightly better in some categories, 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.”

Lapchick concluded, “Two years ago 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 we have only gone from eight to nine head coaches of color among the 120 FBS schools.”

“Since 1982, there have been 477 head coaching vacancies at FBS schools. Coaches of color have been selected to fill just 29 of those openings. As the 2009 season ends, only seven of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision coaching jobs are filled by African-Americans.”

“That’s one less than 12 years ago. In the most recent hiring cycle, the 2009 BCA Football Hiring Report Card lists 22 openings with four African-Americans being hired, all at non BCS schools.”