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GSM Live Insights: The Reset of College Sport

Football players at campus racial inequality demonstration

GSM Live Insights: The Reset of College Sport

“I don’t think everyone can be on the frontlines, but everyone’s got to get off of the sidelines.” -Dr. Richard Lapchick

In college sports, football may ‘reign supreme’ in popularity, but it is behind the curve when it comes to diversity at its top tier coaching positions. Global Sport Matters Live: The Reset of College Sport brought experts together to discuss the newest Field Study report from the Global Sport Institute, the barriers to upward mobility for coaches of Color and the reset moment for college sports. Jump to the sections below to see the top insights from each speaker at the event.

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“How is it that in this day, the greatest gain is with White coaches?”

In the last decade, the greatest gains in college football head coaching jobs have been for White men. Findings from the Global Sport Institute’s recent field study comparing White coaches and coaches of Color by experience, win/loss record, as well as conference region show that, all in all, opportunities for coaches of Color still come up short.

“Why is it that the Black athletes who had all of the visibility can’t start out at any level and have success?”

Examining how the data on colleges compares to the professional level, Dr. C. Keith Harrison makes the important note that when we talk about the similarities versus differences, at the college or professional level, the similarities are race and barriers to upward mobility. 

“We are often looked at as an experiment.”

Dr. Fitz Hill reflects on his experience as the first Black Head Football Coach of San Jose State University and then as President of Arkansas Baptist College. Boosters have large sway because of the dollars they bring, but the role of the college president has to remain intentional to ensure diversity. Hill says, “Oftentimes we are affirmed and validated by being called ‘the first’ but when I think about it…they’ve got to be comfortable with you.” 

“I think we have an opportunity to do more things than we ever could before and if we don’t seize the moment, shame on us.”

His Racial and Gender Report Cards have served as a resource to advocate for real change at the highest levels of sport. Dr. Richard Lapchick reminds us that although progress is slow, it is always worth the fight; that there is power at every level, and that athlete activism has turned a corner in this great awakening to become a vital catalyst for reform.

“It’s important for student athletes, specifically of Color, to mobilize, use your voice and your power. Now is the time.”

Ten years ago Sam Sachs pushed Oregon to adopt a ruling that ensures a more diverse and even playing field when it came to hiring practices. Today, with his organization, The No Hate Zone, he continues to pressure the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to adopt a ruling nationwide and calls on student athletes to use their voice to create change.

Recommended reading mentioned in the conversation:
Other recommended reading on race, sport and society:

Read the full Field Study we discussed during this event: