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Diversity and inclusion pledge available for signatures

Campus leaders from all 3 divisions encouraged to sign

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The NCAA’s diversity and inclusion pledge is now available online for presidents and chancellors to affirm their commitment to ethnic, racial and gender diversity in the hiring process for athletics.

All presidents and chancellors in Divisions I, II and III are being encouraged to sign the pledge via direct communication from NCAA Board of Governors Chair G.P. Bud Peterson, president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and NCAA President Mark Emmert.

They are also encouraging athletics conference commissioners to sign the pledge, approved last month by the Board of Governors, the highest-ranking committee in the NCAA.

Colleges, universities and athletics conferences that commit to the pledge will be recognized in a public listing on the NCAA’s website.

“When schools take this pledge – and follow through with their actions – it can be a powerful instrument that supports university and Association values when addressing student-athletes, recruits, parents and prospective staff on their campuses,” said Bernard Franklin, NCAA executive vice president of education and community engagement and chief inclusion officer.

Many NCAA schools have become more proactive when addressing diversity initiatives, but employment data suggest that progress has been slow. An NCAA survey from the 2014-15 academic year found that fewer than 10 percent of athletics directors are African-American; ethnic minorities hold only 13 percent of leadership positions in athletics administration; and only 40 percent of head coaching positions in women’s sports are held by women.

The “Pledge and Commitment to Promoting Diversity and Gender Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics” is endorsed by the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators.

“This commitment is a huge milestone in our industry’s dedication to a better future,” NACWAA Chief Executive Officer Patti Phillips said. “The pledge acknowledges the importance of diversity in intercollegiate athletics and calls on all college presidents, chancellors and leaders to commit themselves and their respective institutions to create better opportunities for women and people of color in athletics.”

American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad and ACE Board Chair John J. DeGioia, president of Georgetown University, also endorsed the pledge.

“We are pleased to give our full support to the NCAA as it seeks commitments from college and university presidents to establish initiatives to achieve ethnic and racial diversity and gender equity and inclusion in intercollegiate athletics hiring practices,” Broad and DeGioia said in a statement.  “We encourage presidents and chancellors from all types of institutions to take the NCAA pledge and focus their attention on this issue.”

The pledge states:

“Consistent with our mission and values, [NAME OF NCAA MEMBER HERE], a member institution of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), pledges to specifically commit to establishing initiatives for achieving ethnic and racial diversity, gender equity and inclusion with a focus and emphasis on hiring practices in intercollegiate athletics to reflect the diversity of our membership and our nation.

“We recognize and value the experiences individuals from diverse backgrounds bring to intercollegiate athletics. To that end, we will strive to identify, recruit and interview individuals from diverse backgrounds in an effort to increase their representation and retention as commissioners, athletics directors, coaches and other athletics leadership positions. As part of this commitment we will also engage in a regular diversity, inclusion and equity review to inform campus policy and diversity initiatives.

“We understand this to be a collective responsibility we owe to student-athletes, staff, our athletics programs and the entire campus community.”