Opinion: Time for a Racial Reckoning in College Sports Leadership

Co-vice chairs of our racial equity task force, Shanteona Keys and Jacques McClendon, published an op-ed in The Athletic on why it is so critical for institutions to enact the Commission’s 4 recommendations to achieve racial equity. You can read our whole report here.

An excerpt from the article:

“We believe that one of the four broad recommendations in our new report — holding institutions accountable in hiring to achieve diversity and equity in athletics leadership — is pivotal to achieving sweeping reform in the three other areas. The three other areas for reform the Commission identified are: 1) closing educational opportunity gaps to create an equitable pathway for Black athletes’ success during and after college; 2) investing in programs that support and enhance Black athletes’ college experience and promote inclusion and belonging; and 3) creating more equitable opportunities for Black athletes to assume leadership roles, especially in advocacy and governance.

Why is diversity in athletics leadership so critical to achieving equity? As Black college athletes at predominantly white institutions, we saw few leadership position held by Black staffers, even though we played sports dominated by Black athletes. The lack of representation among our athletics leaders, men and women who had the most power over our future athletic careers, often fostered a sense of isolation and disconnection from our institutions.

By the time we had Black coaches — one in college and the other in the National Football League — it was life-changing. We found advocates, champions and mentors with a knowing cultural competency.”

Continued in The Athletic (subscription required).