Brand calls for hiring of more black football coaches

Updated: January 6, 2007, 9:54 PM ET
Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. -- NCAA president Myles Brand asked member schools to offer more opportunities to minorities when hiring coaches and administrators and wants them to do a better job educating athletes about sportsmanship.

Speaking at the opening of the NCAA's annual convention, Brand admonished Football Bowl Subdivision -- formerly Division I-A -- schools for not aggressively pursuing black football coaches. Only seven of the 119 programs have black head coaches.

"We're not anywhere close to where we need to be in football," Brand said. "I'm encouraged that coaches of color are appearing as finalists for positions, but seven out of 119, that's just too darn low."

Brand also declared sportsmanship a key issues for the three-day convention that ends Monday. The brawl between Miami and Florida International players during a football game in October was the focal point of Brand's discussion on the topic.

The NCAA president took issue with critics who thought school officials, particularly Miami president Donna Shalala, were too tepid in meting out punishment.

"By and large, the focus was on what we are doing to punish the students instead of what are we doing to educate them on sportsmanship," Brand said. "Their actions were wrong, but we've got to do a better job of educating them on what is expected from them with regard to sportsmanship."

Brand also weighed in on the unchecked growth in athletic budgets at colleges, noting that over the past decade only six institutions consistently have had budget surpluses at the end of the year. He cited the rapidly escalating salaries of football coaches as an example of spending sprees by universities.

"We have to start asking some hard questions at this point," Brand said. "Is it appropriate for institutions of higher learning to invest this much in a football coach?"

The Football Bowl Subdivision did vote to override a piece of legislation passed just a year ago that allowed students who had graduated academically, but still had athletic eligibility left, to transfer without having to sit out a year. The rule applied to the top football division, men's and women's basketball and men's ice hockey. Though only 25 athletes took advantage of it, some schools thought it turned athletes who graduated early into free agents for other schools to recruit.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press