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The Voice of the Black Community


Mixed grades on race, gender report card for college sports
Published Thursday, March 8, 2018
by Gregory Clay, Diverse Issues

The percentage of black head coaches in Division I college basketball has declined the past 10 years. That startling development is among the findings in the 2017 version of the annual College Sport Racial and Gender Report Card, released Wednesday by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.

During the 2016-17 season, 22.3 percent of head coaches in men’s basketball were black on the Division I level. That figure is up by 1.5 percentage points from the 20.8 in the 2015-16 season.

But there is more to the story. Despite the uptick, that 22.3 figure still is down by nearly 3 percentage points from the all-time high of 25.2 percent during the 2005-206 season.

“Nobody was really paying attention to it (the decline) for years, probably because everyone assumed the numbers wouldn’t go down,” Richard Lapchick, chair of the DeVos Sport Business Management Program at TIDES at UCF, told Diverse. “At one time, a few years ago, it was just below or around 20 percent. Then, we noticed it more. The spotlight needs to be on it.”

Another finding is that the percentage of black men’s Division I basketball players decreased in 2016-17 to 53 percent. That’s a 1.8 percent decline from the previous season. White players increased fractionally to 26.9 percent.

“There’s often fluctuations,” Lapchick said. “But it hasn’t happened two years in a row – not yet, anyway. So it’s not a trend.”

However, a different matter could be a trend. When it comes to admittance to college, black male athletes appear to garner an advantage. For example, during the 2016-17 season, black male student-athletes comprised 22.2 percent, 20.4 percent and 12.2 percent of all male student-athletes in Divisions I, II and III, respectively. Latinos were 4.8 percent, 7 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively. Asian/Pacific Islanders were 1.9 percent, 1.3 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively. Native-Americans were .3 percent, .6 percent and .3 percent, respectively.

When the figures for black male athletes are contrasted with those of black male students in general, black males age 18 and older make up only 5.5 percent of all college students, according to a 2014 study released by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Black male athletes at Division I schools are four times that figure, an astounding ratio difference. This suggests that black male athletes are much more readily accepted in colleges and universities than non-athlete, black male students.

“That’s been typical for colleges for a long time,” Lapchick said. “For African-American athletes, you’re being recruited for the benefit of the university, and not necessarily for society.”

As for black female student-athletes, the statistics are 12.5 percent, 9.5 percent and 5.9 percent of all women athletes in Divisions I, II and III, respectively. In football at the Division I Football Bowl Series level, black players accounted for 44.2 percent of student-athletes while whites made up 41.5 percent.

As for management-type positions in college sports, black administrators held 9.4 percent, 6.1 percent and 4.4 percent of the athletics director positions in Divisions I, II and III, respectively. Divisions I and III saw an increase compared to the 2015-16 year, when black leaders represented 8.6 and 4.2 percent of athletic directors, respectively. Division II saw a decrease compared to the percentage of the 2015-2016 year, when black representation was 6.5 percent.

Whites held the overwhelming portion of the athletics director roles during the 2016-17 year at 86.1 percent, 87.4 percent and 93.4 percent in Divisions I, II and III, respectively. Women made up 11.2 percent of Division I athletics directors, an increase from 9.8 in 2015-16.

One of those women is Carla Williams, who in October became the first black woman to be named athletics director of an FBS school at the University of Virginia. As of Oct. 2017, there were 14 black, one Asian and seven Latino athletics directors at FBS institutions. Of the 130 athletics directors who oversaw FBS football programs, 108 (77.7 percent) were white males.

In the coaching department, whites made up 84.2 percent, 91.4 percent and 94.5 percent of basketball, football and baseball head coaches, respectively, in all divisions combined during 2016-17.

And black coaches were so unrepresented as head coaches in Division III that the percentage of women coaching men’s teams was higher than the percentage of black people coaching men’s teams (6.2 percent versus 5 percent).

The number of head football coaches of color at the FBS level increased from 17 in 2016 to 18 in 2017. And 86.9 percent of head football coaches were white men.

Women held only 39.8 percent of the head coaching jobs of women’s teams in Division I, 35.3 percent in Division II and 44.4 percent in Division III. Women held 46.3 percent, 48.4 percent and 51.8 percent of assistant coaching positions on women’s teams in Divisions I, II and III, respectively.

In Division I women’s basketball, black women head coaches held 11.4 percent of the positions in 2016-17 and black men held 4.6 percent of the positions in 2016-217 for a combined percentage of 16 percent. This was a decrease from the 16.8 percent reported in 2015-16. As in other sports, the 11.4 percent black women head coaches stood in stark contrast to the 43.4 percent of the black women student-athletes who played basketball.



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