Collegiate sport needs diversity

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

Collegiate athletics have come a long way since their birth, but that does not mean everything is as it should be.

Women have made advances in collegiate athletics, as far as being more included with opportunities and scholarships.

Yet, at the same time, women are still facing gaps in opportunities in regard to collegiate sports, whether it be actual participation in the sport or being a coach.

Every year, Richard Lapchick, director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES), writes a recap of diversity in collegiate sport with regard to race and gender.

The recap is published by ESPN, and Lapchick’s story was published online by ESPN in February.

His story analyzed the 2018 College Sport Racial and Gender Report Card composed by TIDES, and the results show we need to do more within collegiate sport.

Lapchick explains that the 2018 report card showed slight improvement from previous years, which is a minor victory given the overall context within the rest of the results.

Overall, collegiate sport received a B-minus for racial hiring practices, a C-plus for gender hiring practices and an overall grade of C-plus.

Well, to look at some positives, Lapchick reported that the NCAA had the number of women at the senior management level above 30 percent for the second straight year.

The NCAA made progress hiring people of color as well. Vice presidents and above increased from 25 percent to 29.4 percent.

Despite this increase in regard to persons of color, Lapchick stated that he finds it personally troubling that 28 of the 30 Division I conference commissioners are white.

Looking at it further, for Divisions I, II and III, 84 percent, 90 percent and 93 percent, respectively, of athletic directors are white.

Coaching-wise, only 13.7 percent of head coaches for Division I men’s teams are people of color, though the NCAA recruits 33.7 percent student-athletes of color and 43.9 percent female student-athletes.

On the women’s coaching side, only 15.1 percent of Division I head coaches are people of color and only 40.1 percent are women.

Finally, as Lapchick said he finds personally as the worst statistic, 59 percent of the women’s teams are coached by a man.

There is still a need for and room for improvement to collegiate sport’s diversity.

It is important for the student-athletes to be coached by people they can relate to, and on top of that, sports are part of society abroad.

Now, you could argue that diversity in America still needs major improvements (as in there needs to be more diversity, which I also argue), but why should sports not be the catalyst to drive that change?

You can take classes about it, but sport brings communities and societies together. They can bring the world together, as we see with the Olympics.

One of the big headlines at the recent Olympics was the fact that the North and South Korean athletes walked in together. That is a powerful statement that hopefully points to change coming.

TIDES gave collegiate sport an A-plus for its grade for student-athlete participation for race (that 33.7 percent I mentioned earlier), and TIDES gave collegiate sport a B-minus for its student-athlete participation for gender (43.9 percent women).

So, there is a good note to take away from the TIDES report, but there are still those loose ends to tie up.

And we need to address these if we are to continue evolving not only as a society, but as a society that loves our sports.

Dillan Schorfheide is a junior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]