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Lack of minority coaches reflects leadership

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The low number of minorities coaching in
college football reflects a lack of diversity among college and
conference leaders, according to a University of Central Florida
study released Wednesday.

UCF's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport found there
were five blacks and one Hispanic employed as head coaches at the
117 Division I-A football schools as of Oct. 31.

That low percentage mirrors the numbers for university
presidents (5 percent), athletic directors (8 percent), faculty
athletic representatives (9 percent) and conference commissioners
(zero minorities).

"It is clear from this data that the vast majority of the most
powerful people in college sport are white," institute director
Richard Lapchick said in a statement. "Does this have an impact on
the hiring of head football coaches? How could it not?"

The study -- "The Buck Stops Here: Assessing Diversity among
Campus and Conference Leaders for Division I-A Schools" -- also
found that white women held 41 of 360 campus leadership positions
(11 percent). There are two minority women in such jobs, one black
and one Hispanic.

"History shows that in the 'old boys' network, white men are
likely to hire people who look like them," Lapchick said.

By comparison, about 43 percent of the football players in
Division I-A are black, Lapchick said.

The study also noted that minorities in leadership positions
were no more likely to hire minorities than their white peers. The
same went for women.

Of the six minority university presidents, none hired a minority
for the positions of athletic director, football coach or
faculty athletic representative.

Among the 13 female presidents, none appointed a female athletic
director.

The study's findings did not come as a surprise to Floyd Keith,
executive director of the Black Coaches Association.

"When you look at the number of ethnic minorities in positions
of decision making, it's paltry," Keith said.

The BCA released its own study this year surveying schools for
their sensitivity toward minority issues when hiring football
coaches. Programs were given positive grades for factors such as
the number of minorities on the search/hiring committee and the
number of minorities who received on-campus interviews.

Of the 28 I-A and I-AA programs that hired coaches during the
2003-04 academic year, 11 received grades of C or lower.

Lapchick and the BCA noted that one obstacle toward hiring
minority coaches is that many schools feel pressure to fill their
vacancy as soon as possible.

"They're usually done very quick because (the programs) want to
move on in the recruiting process," Lapchick said.

The NCAA has a number of programs aimed at increasing the
numbers of minorities in leadership roles, spokesman Erik
Christianson said.

"We are creating here at the national office a new unit for
diversity and inclusiveness," he said. "We see that as another
effort to help bring more resources and support to this particular
area for our member colleges and universities"

But hiring is up to the individual institutions, Christianson
acknowledged.

Major League Baseball and the NFL have policies, backed by the
threat of hefty fines, forcing teams to interview minority
candidates for coaching positions.

"That's something the BCA has been suggesting, in terms of
bylaws to that point," Christianson said. "Our members are not
there right now, but it's something they want to pursue in the
future."