ESPN writer: Diversity hiring is good for NCAA coaches, but not for recruiting

A contributing writer for ESPN recently argued in favor of diversity hiring for NCAA coaches but told Campus Reform that the standard should not apply for recruited athletes.

One student-athlete told Campus Reform that hiring should be based on merit.

A contributing writer for ESPN recently argued in favor of diversity hiring for NCAA coaches but told Campus Reform that the standard should not apply for recruited athletes.

Richard Lapchick, who is a former professor of sports business management at the University of Central Florida, wrote on that the NCAA needs to increase gender and racial representation among coaches and other senior staff on athletics teams. 

Lapchick, the founder and director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES), also referenced his organization’s 2021 College Sport Racial and Gender Report Card, the results of which he called “embarrassing” for higher education.

Speaking with Campus Reform, Lapchick stopped short of endorsing any application of diversity hiring initiatives to the athlete recruitment process. 

“We do not evaluate the recruiting process,” the former professor said. “We do evaluate the race and gender of student-athletes.”

[RELATED: LGBTQ+ advocacy stands out in 2021 diversity hiring]

Lapchick added that he does not “think it is a good idea to base the grade on a comparison of coaches and the athletes that play the sport.”

Campus Reform spoke with Friends University football payer Jahmarri Green, who stated that coaches should be hired based on merit.

“Do I believe there needs to be a set quota or number of POC coaches apart of the NCAA? No,” Green said. “I’ve always believed that the best coach should get the job because that’s what can make or break a program.”

Green’s comments echo similar responses when Campus Reform asked University of Florida students if diversity quotas should be applied to the school’s football team. While most students supported some form of affirmative action or quota system, practically all made an exception for sports. 

”College sports is about getting the best players for your team, and I don’t think we should focus on which race or ethnicity to get,” one student said.

[RELATED: Over 2,600 students could have had free tuition for the cost of IU’s ‘Diversity Hiring Initiative’]

Approximately 53% of men’s college basketball players are identified as Black/African American and 24% are White, according to the TIDES report. 

Similarly, the report finds that about 44% of men’s college football players are Black/African American and 40% are White.

In the women’s division, approximately 41% of student-athletes are Black/African American and 34% are White.

Campus Reform reached out to the University of Central Florida for comment; this article will be updated accordingly. 

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