Athletics Commits to Diversity in Hiring Process

Quick Summary

  • Pledge applies to finalist pools for head coaching jobs in football, and men’s and women’s basketball
  • Each pool must include at least one candidate from a traditionally underrepresented background
  • Athletics Director Blue says: “There remains work to be done in this area, but the Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge is a concrete step forward”

UC Davis Athletics and 29 other athletics departments across the nation are the first to sign the Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge, put forth by AthleticDirectorU.

By opting in, athletics directors commit to include at least one candidate from a traditionally underrepresented background and one nondiverse candidate in each finalist pool for head coach vacancies in football and men’s and women’s basketball.

The Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge, or CCDP, “reflects a commitment to ensure equal opportunity in the hiring of head coaches, and addresses the barriers that prevent full participation by underrepresented minority groups,” according to AthleticDirectorU, which describes itself as a platform for “action-oriented insights and best practices from accomplished executives, top researchers and the industry’s most influential thought-leaders.”

“UC Davis is glad to be part of this nationwide effort to support diversity in college coaching,” Director of Athletics Kevin Blue said. “There remains work to be done in this area, but the Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge is a concrete step forward. The values of this pledge are aligned with the values of UC Davis Athletics.”

Read Athletics Director Blue’s latest update on his department’s progress and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Dwight Smith, executive director for UC Davis Athletics diversity, equity and inclusion, said the Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge “is a significant step towards addressing the disparities and lack of representation that currently exist in collegiate coaching.”

“Recruiting diverse and representative coaching talent is an important aspect of UC Davis Athletics’ diversity, equity and inclusion strategy,” Smith said. “I am optimistic that the accountability provided by the CCDP will enable long-term and meaningful change for the collegiate coaching landscape.”

The Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge is overseen by a Board of Advocates and a Board of Coaches, comprising independent higher education and athletics leaders. At the conclusion of each hiring season, the Board of Advocates will work with a third-party clearinghouse, James Moore & Co., to review a representative sample of coaching searches, confidentially, to ensure compliance with the pledge.

For each search included in the sample, the clearinghouse will contact the athletics director (or search firm) to obtain the name and contact information of each finalist, so that their participation as a finalist can be verified.

From the FAQ

AthleticDirectorU, in an FAQ accompanying the pledge, explains why it requires the inclusion of at least one candidate from a nondiverse background in addition to at least one candidate from a diverse background.

In some states, laws explicitly prohibit any kind of policy in hiring that could be construed as affirmative action,” the FAQ states. Indeed, the California Constitution bans the consideration of race, color, ethnicity and national origin in public employment.

The FAQ also answers: Why does the CCPD apply for only football, and men’s and women’s basketball? “We acknowledge that increasing leadership diversity in college athletics requires efforts that go beyond the sports of football, women’s basketball, and men’s basketball,” the FAQ states. “We also acknowledge that the CCPD is not a complete solution to increasing coaching diversity in these three sports. However, we believe that the CCDP is a practical and meaningful step towards increasing opportunities for underrepresented coaches and will prompt further action to diversify leadership in college athletics.”

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