Racial recruiting practices in college athletics saw minor improvements, but gendered recruiting practices declined, according to the 2022 College Sport Racial and Gender Report Card (CSRGRC) from the University of Central Florida (UCF).
The report card, issued by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at UCF, assessed the racial and gender-based recruiting practices of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and member institutions — historically excluding historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) from such evaluations.
“It is important to note that the omission of historically black colleges and universities in this report is not intended to promote the exclusion of these institutions, but rather to highlight the disproportionate recruiting practices reflected in college sports,” the report states. “Notably, HBCU athletic departments have a high percentage of ethnic minorities as well as women. If these institutions were taken into account in this report, the data would be skewed – and ultimately misleading and ineffective.”
The report examines personnel data — from sources such as the NCAA demographic database — on university presidents, athletics directors, coaches, administrative staff and athletics faculty representatives for collegiate sports.
Overall, the combined grade for CSRGRC 2022 was a “C” with 73.7 points, down from 75.8 points in 2021. Racial hiring practices received a “C,” 73.3 points compared to 74.4 points in 2021. Gender recruitment practices also received a “C”, 74.1 points out of 73.8 points in 2021.
Dr. UCF’s Richard Lapchick, director of TIDES and lead author of the report, said recruiting practices in college sports have gotten worse.
“We have a record in every major professional league, and college sports has the worst record,” Lapchick said. “As someone who has worked in college for 52 years, I find it particularly disappointing that college sports has the worst record of any we cover.”
A key issue illustrated in the report card is the disproportionate representation between management and student-athletes at Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institutions. The vast majority of university leaders are white, even though the majority of student athletes—in Division I football and basketball—are black.
In D1 football at the FBS level, 44.7% of student-athletes were black or African-American and 38.6% were white. In D1 men’s basketball, 52.4% were black or African American and 24.3% were white. However, in Division I baseball, 78.1% of student-athletes were white.
And in D1 women’s basketball, 39.9% of athletes were black or African-American, down from 40.7% in 2020-2021, and 33.2% were white, down from 33.6% in 2020-2021.
Conversely, 78.6% of chancellors and presidents, 78.6% of athletic directors, 83.6% of faculty athletic representatives, and 80.0% of conference commissioners were white. And 60.3% of chancellors and presidents, 67.9% of athletic directors, 50% of faculty athletic representatives and 70% of conference commissioners were white.
As for the coaches, the numbers are also not far off. According to the report, 84.1% of Division I, 85.2% of D2 and 89% of D3 men’s coaches were white, and 80.6%, 84.5% and 88.1% of those in women’s head coaching positions were white. While the number of white head coaches in the three divisions has declined slightly, they remain the overwhelming majority.
“It’s hard to believe that in 2022, for example, 51 years after Title IX was passed, only 40% of women’s teams in all three divisions are coached by women and 50% of women’s assistant coaches are women. years later,” Lapchick said.[The] the men’s basketball coach’s record for hiring blacks is worse than it was 19 years ago. And our football coaching record for people of color is worse than it was in 2010.”
The report’s findings are not surprising, said Dr. Marvin T. Chiles, assistant professor of African-American history at Old Dominion University, who worked on a book about black athletic leadership at the high school and college levels.
“There are points of improvement. There are other points that are not improving,” Chiles said. “But the fact remains that since integration has occurred in college athletics as a whole, the main question has been: should more non-white coaches coach athletes who aren’t they white? The report pretty much shows that this issue hasn’t gone anywhere.”
He said the TIDES report signaled institutional bias and that institutions were not hiring enough people of color into coaching positions for equity.
“Ad nausea has been talked about in the sports media for years,” Chiles said. “For this young football/basketball player to reach you, many of them come from urban areas where they are coached by Black men and women. Many of them come from these backgrounds. Well, this player was such a good product and he came out of a system that works so well that you invest in him for the next four to five years before he steps in and earns a title and represents his university honorably on the field of play.
“Well, if these people groom them to get there, why aren’t they good enough to brush them out while they’re there?” he added.
College Athletics earned an “A+” for its NCAA diversity initiatives for leadership, administrators and student-athletes. Chiles said this push may be a response to the realization of the severity of such differences.
“It’s good that the NCAA is taking seriously the initiatives they’re doing. Many of them are creating pipelines to try to prepare minority coaching and management candidates,” Chiles said. “It’s always a good thing when institutions realize they have to keep up with the times,” he added.