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A new approach for ensuring minorities are candidates for head coaching vacancies

For decades now, coaches have been asking for changes to be made to hiring practices in an effort to see more minority coaches get legitimate opportunities at head coaching positions.

It's a conversation that is passionately brought up a few times a year, and yet there still isn't a great answer to address the issue. Maryland head coach Mike Locksley created the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches back in early August to try and continue to move the conversation forward, and last December a few NFL insiders had a fascinating discussion regarding the issues in hiring practices for minorities, and how some coaches feel that some head coaching interviews are simply to "check the box" and not legit interview opportunities.

Tonight, the Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge (CCDP) was announced as an opt-in pledge by Division I athletics directors to include "a diverse group of candidates in the finalist pool for head coaching vacancies in men's basketball, women's basketball, and football. The pledge notes that at least one candidate from a traditionally underrepresented background, and at least one candidate from a non-diverse background be included in the group of finalists for those three sports.

In order to comply with the CCDP, the announcement shares:

  • To maintain compliance with the Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge, athletic directors must have a finalist pool that includes at least one candidate from a traditionally underrepresented background and one non-diverse candidate. 
  • The interview process for all finalist candidates must be substantially equivalent. For example, if the eventually-hired coach received both a phone, neutral site, and campus interview, all unsuccessful finalist candidates must also have participated in the same process.
  • To maintain compliance with the Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge, athletic directors must have a finalist pool that includes at least one candidate from a traditionally underrepresented background and one non-diverse candidate. 

There are a total of four caveats and exceptions laid out, including the event that an AD decides to promote an internal candidate to the head coaching role. In that case, the school would be considered to be in compliance if no external candidates were interviewed.

The board of coaches involved includes football coaches Mike London (William & Mary), Van Malone (Kansas State) and Jay Norvell (Nevada).

Over the years there have been a number of different creative ideas explored in an attempt to increase opportunities for minority coaches. The question with this latest idea is will a pledge from athletic directors be the answer, or is that another avenue to say the right things without necessarily following it up with real-life actions? Only time will tell.

The good news is that a review process for the pledge is in place, and athletic directors who take the pledge will have a system for accountability. That process includes a February review for football, where a third-party clearinghouse will "randomly select a representative sample of the hires made in the previous hiring cycle for the review." Then the clearinghouse will contact each athletic director / search firm to inform them of the review, and that will be followed by a description of the hiring process complete with names and contact information of the finalists to demonstrate compliance with the pledge.

Head here to read more.

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