Low Score for Collegiate Sports: Latest report shows colleges and universities are among the worst when it comes to hiring and promoting women and people of color in the coaching and managerial ranks of sports.
WASHINGTON -- College sports departments scarcely received a passing grade when it came to the hiring and promotion of minorities and women, according to the latest report card issued by Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society in Boston.
Select colleges scored a "C" for their hiring and promotion of people of color and women in non-jock sports positions such as athletic directors and coaches.
That translates into some startling numbers when it comes to diversity at some colleges. For example, less than 5 percent of NCAA Division I college athletic directors are minorities and slightly more than 8 percent are women.
"I think the focus of the biggest gaps that occur, when it comes to minorities and women, are happening at the college level," says Richard Lapchick, director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society and the study's author. "You are dealing with institutional racism and an old boy system."
This is the 10th year the center has issued the report that focuses on major league sports and select NCAA Division I colleges. The figures released by the center reveal a stark contrast between the composition of those on and off the field. While the majority of players in professional sports such as basketball and football are African American, the ranks of Black, Latino, and Asian coaches remains small.
There was some good news, however, as the study showed minorities continued to make inroads in some professional sports. The National Basketball Association (NBA) continued to have the best overall record, receiving an A- when it came to the hiring of minorities in the league offices and a B+ for the number of minority coaches. The number of women in the league's senior administrative job category also climbed from 31 percent last year to 41 percent in 1998, according to the study. But aside from the NBA, women and minorities remained underrepresented in other professional sports leagues -- including the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball.
For example, as of June 1999, there were only 12 minority coaches and managers in the three major pro sports leagues combined. That figure was down from 1997's total of 14, according to the report.
The problem only gets worse at the college level, where the absence of minority coaches and administrators is most notice-able. The report found that colleges still had the worst overall record for minorities holding head-coaching positions. Only 5.8 percent of NCAA Division I head coaches were Black and 2.1 percent were other minorities.
So how do you explain the gap between the pros and colleges?
Dollars and sense, according to Lapchick, who says professional sports institutions can no longer afford to ignore women and minorities.
"I think what happened was it became a business imperative. …