ORLANDO, Fla. -- A new study gave college sports solid grades Thursday in racial and gender hiring practices, although one of the authors noted "troubling" trends regarding conference commissioners and athletic directors.
The 2010 College Racial and Gender Report Card was released by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. This is the first time it has issued grades for college sports since 2008. The 2009 report didn't include grades because there was not enough new data.
College sports received a B for overall racial hiring practices by earning 81.9 points, up from 76.2 points in the 2008 report. It received a B for gender hiring by earning 82.3 points, up from 80.7 points. The combined grade increased from a C-plus (78.5) to a B (82.1).
Grades were determined on a points system devised using federal affirmative action race and gender policies that say the workplace should reflect the percentage of people for their corresponding groups in the general population. Information used in the report was collected from the NCAA and schools in Divisions I, II and III. The report covers the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years.
"I'm always happy when I see improvement," said institute director Richard Lapchick, who wrote the study with Brian Hoff and Christopher Kaiser. "Five points in race was substantial. But as somebody who has worked at the college level for 40-plus years, it's sad that we still rank low in racial hiring. It's better in gender. But we still have a long way to go. The momentum in this report is going in a positive direction. Hopefully this will be sustained in the next report card as well."
This report follows previous ones on Major League Baseball, the NBA, WNBA, NFL, and Major League Soccer. The next report will be the group's complete Racial and Gender Report Card.
The only A grade for racial hiring practices was given to NCAA headquarters. At its executive vice president and senior vice president level, hiring for people of color increased from one to four. The NCAA also received an A-plus for diversity initiatives.
For gender hiring, there was an A-plus for women's basketball head coaches, assistant coaches for all women's teams and senior women's administrators. An A grade was also given gender hiring at NCAA headquarters and for professional administration in athletic departments.
Female head coaches in Division I basketball increased slightly from 64.7 percent in 2007-08 to 65.9 last year. But in all other sports, men led 55.5 percent of women's teams, while women are head coaches in only 45.5 percent of the programs.
A lot of national publicity was given to an increase from six African-American head football coaches in 2009 to 13 in 2010 in the Football Bowl Subdivision. There were 15 coaches of color at the start of this past season (including one Latino and one Asian), the highest number in the history of FBS schools.
But this year's study also showed a continuing decrease among men's head basketball coaches. In Division I men's basketball, 21 percent of all head coaches were African-American, down 1.9 percent from the last report and 4.2 percentage points from the 2005-06 season when there was a high of 25.2 percent.
Also, all conference commissioners are white males and only 8.3 percent of Division I athletics directors are women. It's why college sport received their only F grades in those two categories.
"It is troubling," Lapchick said. "The commissioners in particular at FBS schools are the most powerful people in college sports. [Southeastern Conference Commissioner] Mike Slive has done a great job pushing social issues.
"But when we hold up a mirror to entire group, it's kind of jarring to see it's all white men. ... We still have not broken that impasse that has kept women and people of color out of key positions. We're making progress, though."