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Board of Governors calls for renewed commitment to values of diversity, inclusion

Board calls for help promoting opportunities, tracking progress, developing programming

The NCAA’s commitment to fostering a culture that promotes diversity and inclusion in athletics was bolstered Tuesday when the NCAA Board of Governors unanimously approved a resolution to further commit the Association to those values.

Through meaningful partnerships, new and refocused programming, information resources and well-researched tracking methods, the resolution calls for the NCAA national office to promote cultural diversity among the NCAA membership by:

  • Developing a more comprehensive NCAA database that is centralized and more accessible, and developing new approaches to encourage member schools to provide real-time information about career opportunities.
  • Developing a pipeline program in areas that have been identified as particularly lacking in cultural diversity, with an emphasis on people of color.
  • Developing a diversity and inclusion metric to measure progress and recognize areas that need improvement.
  • Engaging minority-serving institutions to assist with identifying resources and initiatives related to cultural diversity.

“Developing an inclusive culture is something all educational institutions value,” said Kirk Schulz, president of Kansas State University and chair of the NCAA Board of Governors. “The Board of Governors sees this step as an opportunity to establish our athletics programs as leaders in this area, to show that we embrace the values of diversity and inclusion and to make a statement about its importance in our society.”

As the highest-ranking governance body in the NCAA, the Board of Governors is charged with setting the strategic direction for the Association on issues that affect college sports as a whole. Among those are issues related to diversity and inclusion. The NCAA views diversity and inclusion as one of its core values and has worked to create a culture among its members that promotes equitable participation and career opportunities for student-athletes, staff and administrators from diverse backgrounds.

But during its meeting in San Antonio, the Board of Governors was presented with Division I data that showed the cultural diversity efforts needed presidential leadership and targeted support. Among the findings: In a division with more than 146,000 student-athletes, 88 percent of its 5,514 head coaches were white, and just 41 of its 353 athletics directors were ethnic minorities. Meanwhile, whites held a large majority of positions as athletics directors (286), associate directors of athletics (1,546) and assistant directors of athletics (1,157). Ethnic minorities held just 446 of those positions – just 13 percent of the total positions measured.

“It is our members’ individual and collective responsibility, pursuant to the principle of student-athlete well-being, to conduct athletics departments in a manner designed to protect and enhance the physical and educational well-being of student-athletes and to ensure that the values and principles articulated in the NCAA Constitution are realized,” the board stated in its resolution. “Racially and ethnically diverse and inclusive campuses will improve the learning environment for all – student-athletes, administrators and staff – and will enhance excellence across our Association.”

To address that disparity, the Board of Governors in its resolution called upon university presidents from around the Association to engage in the issue and provide the necessary resources to address it on their campuses.

The board also announced the creation of a new ad hoc committee to monitor the initiatives identified in the resolution, and to report on their progress. Also, it encouraged members to partner with coaching and athletics staff associations to promote recruitment and retention as well as broaden pathways to career opportunities and engage with campus efforts to foster diverse, inclusive cultures.