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September 11, 2004

College Athletics Admin Hiring Not A Black And White Issue

FROM THE GRAND CANYON THAT SEPARATES MERITOCRACY FROM POLITICAL CORRECTNESS come a variety of interpretations, speculations and explanations about the continued lack of minorities in most college athletics administration positions.

The latest round of remarks was initiated by the release of the NCAA’ once-every-two-years study (that’s biennial for those of you who studied Latin) entitled “2003-04 Race and Gender Demographics of Member Institutions’ Athletic Personnel.”

Approximately 95% of the 1000+ NCAA D1-2-3 members participated in the study, including the nation’s 23 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Highlights of the report:

• Minority ADs from D 1-2-3 fell from 7.5% in ’95-’96 (the first year of the study) to 7.2% in ’03-’04. This percentage includes HBCUs, but it does not include women (curiously, women are considered as minorities in the overwhelming preponderance of all other minority studies).

• Minority ADs at all D 1-2-3 schools (without HBUCs) have actually increased from 2.7% to 3% (once again, with women not being considered as minorities).

• Minority ADs at D1 schools (without HBUCs) decreased from 3.7% to 3.4%.

Reactions to the latest set of numbers will likely include the usual platitudes about the merits of diversity, the injustice of exclusion and the continued existence of the good ol’ boys network.

When the small percentages are measured against the fact that blacks are almost half of all college football players and that blacks comprise more than 12% of the total US population, a case could be made for significant changes to be made.

Eugene Marshall, chair of the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, was quoted in reference to the recent hiring of Sylvester Croom as football coach at Mississippi State. Croom is the first black coach in the SEC, and only the fifth black head football coach in all of Division I-A.

Marshall said, "The president at Mississippi State made a conscious effort that he was going to hire a minority football coach. A lot of colleges and universities did not make that commitment, and until they do, the numbers don't change."

Fortunately, as it turned out, no compromises whatsoever were made in hiring Croom; he was a minority candidate for whom no special compensation had to be made.

More later . . . .

(this 395 word excerpt-with accompanying commentary—was extracted from a 1033 word article from the DailyPennsylvanian.com of 9-10-04)