A group representing and advocating for minority coaches in college sports said Wednesday it was concerned that the football hiring season will pass without a single minority candidate filling an open position.
The National Association for Coaching Equity and Development said colleges are not adhering to a pledge signed to address the dwindling numbers of minorities hired for coaching jobs.
"So far it appears that schools are not complying with their commitment, especially those at the highest level," NAFCED executive director Merritt Norvell said in a statement issued to The Associated Press. "It's impossible for minority candidates to even get into the hiring process if there is no formal search for qualified candidates or a diversified pool of final candidates."
The most recent racial and gender report card published in April by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport said that nearly 88 percent of coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision schools were white. The number of minorities coaching football in the 2015 season went up from 14 to 16, but two of those men — Charlie Strong at Texas and Darrell Hazell at Purdue — were fired this season.
Four of the 12 openings at FBS schools through Wednesday have been filled so far this season, all by white men.
Norvell said some schools are circumventing laws in place that require them to consider minority candidates by labeling the positions as "emergency hires."
"The end result is that at the highest levels of this business, presidents and athletics directors seem to have lost control of the coach search process to agents, search firms, and big money boosters," Norvell said. "We are just asking colleges and universities to do what they have led the public to believe they have been doing all along, but the numbers don't illustrate that they have."
Among the concerns expressed often by NAFCED and Dr. Richard Lapchick, who has long lobbied for increased coaching opportunities for women and people of color, is the overwhelming number of white men at the highest positions at NCAA schools. For the 2016-17 academic year, 88.3 percent of FBS school presidents, 85.9 percent of athletics directors, 89.4 percent of faculty athletics representatives and 100 percent of conference commissioners were white, according to a TIDES report issued in November.
"College sport remains behind professional sports regarding opportunities for women and people of color for the top jobs," Lapchick said.
The poor hiring record led the NCAA to draft the "Pledge to Promoting Diversity and Gender Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics" in September. The college presidents who signed the pledge promised to "strive to identify, recruit and interview individuals from diverse backgrounds in an effort to increase their representation and retention as commissioners, athletics directors, coaches and other leaders in athletics."
Baylor (open), Florida Atlantic (open), LSU (hired Ed Orgeron), Nevada (open), Oregon (open), Purdue (open), San Jose State (open) and Texas (hired Tom Herman) all signed the pledge, which is not a binding document.
"The presidents must take control back and honor their pledge to make sure that all qualified candidates at least have a fair opportunity to compete for employment opportunities at their institutions," Norvell said.
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