Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Follow the Money and Channel More of It to African-Americans

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Follow the Money and Channel More of It to African-Americans

Article excerpt

Bringing the Rooney Rule to the collegiate level would help increase diversity among head football coaches, athletic directors and conference commissioners.

There is no question that Blacks have made tremendous progress on the field and on the sidelines. But Blacks and other people of color are still not major participants in the money side of college sports. Players, of course, do not get paid, but those in the higher echelons of college sports certainly do. And those faces remain, even today, almost exclusively White. How can this picture be changed? One answer is the implementation of a Rooney Rule at the collegiate level. This is a proven mechanism to increase the hiring of underrepresented people both inside and outside of the sports business.

My thoughts are about the dollars, the demographics and efforts to add greater numbers of people of color to top-level positions in college sports. Sure, there is one top-level African-American official at the NCAA, and there are some minority athletic directors, college presidents and head coaches sprinkled here and there around the collegiate landscape. But the numbers are not representative of minority participation levels. They should be. It's not just about playing; it's about participating in the economics.

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, there is a lot of money in collegiate sports. We just witnessed the NCAA men's basketball tournament, which brings in millions of dollars annually. NCAA President Mark Emmert was recently on PBS' "Frontline" and sheepishly refused to disclose his salary. When questions come up about financial decisions at NCAA member institutions the conversations go pretty rapidly to the lack of profitable programs. But those conversations should be steered back to the bowl games, the NCAA tournament, the salaries of NCAA officials and the salaries paid to coaches.

In the midst of this onslaught of cash, if you follow the money, including all of that room, board, tuition and educational fees, the student-athletes, many of whom are people of color, come out on the short end. For example, University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban, pulls in just under $6 million in salary annually. I have no problem with that, everyone should make as much as they can. 1 am just looking for more African-Americans to be in that mix. How do we improve the economic participation of African-Americans in college sports?

The real money at the collegiate level largely goes to the college presidents and head coaches like Saban. …

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