Minorities Wanted

In light of the recent addition of minority head coaches in several professional leagues across the country, people are beginning to wonder whether the same kind of trends can be seen throughout college campuses across the country.

There are relatively succinct equality regulations that govern other aspects of collegiate athletics. Perhaps the most famous law that focuses on equality is Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 that ensures equality among sexes in university programs.

However, Sid Sink, BG’s assistant athletic director for compliance and certification, notes that the NCAA has no explicit rule that relates to race and fulfilling coaching positions.

“There is no NCAA rule or regulation that says a given university has to hire a certain number of minority coaches for their staffs.”

However, Sink did note that although there is no actual rule, he feels that the NCAA implicitly recommends universities to make an effort to hire minority coaches.

“The NCAA’s Web site encourages as much diversity on the athletic staffs as possible as long as you’re hiring coaches that can get the job done,” Sink said.

In December 2002, the NFL adapted an internal regulation called the Rooney Rule in which all NFL teams have to interview at least one minority candidate for a head coaching position. Since its inception, both Ohio teams – Cleveland and Cincinnati – have hired an African-American head coach.

However, the NCAA and the NFL are two completely separate entities, making implementing such regulations more of a challenge.

“The difference [between the NCAA and the NFL] is that the NFL is a private organization,” said J.D. Campbell, assistant athletic director of athletic communications. “It’d be impossible to enforce that kind of rule across the board.”

Perhaps the most applicable regulation to minority hiring in the athletics department is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal to discriminate based on “race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces the title, but it doesn’t provide any quotas and is used more as a reactive law than a proactive law.

“Equal Employment Opportunity means that we take affirmative actions to ensure nondiscrimination in all areas of BG employment,” said Marshall Rose, director of the Office of Equity and Diversity. “Should discrimination occur, it is reported for investigation.”

Rose noted that although they constantly push hard for diversity in the University, it is not always achieved at a desired rate.

“I think we do a good job encouraging diversity at many levels in the hiring procedures of the University,” Rose said. “[But] we need to do a better job achieving more diversity in the actual appointments that are made.”

Even though there is no direct ruling that forces a university to interview and hire a specific number, Campbell feels that BG does everything they can to offer jobs to minority candidates.

“It’s very important to us to exhaust as many venues to attract a diverse array of candidates to fill our coaching positions,” Campbell said.

Campbell believes it’s important to have a balance in minorities, but not as important as hiring a man or a woman who is going to get the job done.

“Although we’re very conscience about the diversity of our staffs, the most important factor is finding a coach who will be the best fit for a program, both in the long-term and the short-term,” he said.