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New designees set to champion diversity and inclusion

Each school, conference is naming contact to help share information

Athletics departments and conference offices now have a primary point of contact to receive and distribute information around diversity and inclusion topics. The athletics diversity and inclusion designee, known as the ADID, will be that point of communication between the NCAA national office, athletics department, conference office and campus when information around inclusive programs, emerging diversity issues and other related equity initiatives needs to be shared.

The Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee began discussions around the designation two years ago. The role, which was approved by Divisions I, II and III at the NCAA Convention in January, will serve as a gatekeeper of information who will engage with various audiences such as national office staff, student-athletes, athletics department and conference administrators, and campus officials who are involved with athletics or university inclusion. Athletics administrators have stated that sometimes information gets bottlenecked now and doesn’t arrive to key recipients.

Information likely will originate from NCAA diversity-focused committees or offices, such as the Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, the Committee on Women’s Athletics, the Board of Governors Committee To Promote Cultural Diversity and Equity, the Gender Equity Task Force and the NCAA office of inclusion.

“We, MOIC, are very happy to see the support of the membership around the ADID,” said Jose Rodriguez, chair of MOIC and chief diversity officer at Cabrini. “We look forward to seeing all of the ADIDs and the athletics departments and conference offices working together and moving forward and creating their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. MOIC is here to assist anyone, and any institution or any conference. I just want to say thank you to our membership for approving this important designation.”

The designation also could have broader significance. It  will help strengthen the Association’s values and principles around inclusion. Additionally, it reaffirms the importance of recognizing diversity and inclusion, as inclusion is a key principle of the NCAA. The designation also ties to efforts surrounding the NCAA Presidential Pledge.

ADIDs may be appointed by the university president, chancellor or athletics commissioner (or a proxy), and many will have direct or strong ties to athletics. Information that is channeled may include, but is not limited to, NCAA diversity updates, research/data reports, programming information as it relates to diversity and pertinent information from the NCAA national office. ADIDs also may be asked to share their suggested best practices on diversity and inclusion initiatives or any inclusive topics they think would be of interest to the broader Association.

On campuses, the individual can be inside or outside the athletics department but should be an employee of the school and have access to student-athletes, coaches and administrators, whether in person or by other communications means. 

The ADID also should have access to the athletics director or senior staff within athletics, as the designee will receive information with an expectation to share it with other athletics leaders and points of contacts on their campus. Conference offices also were asked to name an ADID and will be asked to disseminate information within their office and to schools as needed.

As some athletics departments have begun to hire chief diversity officers, the ADID also could be part of an existing athletics or university position. In fact, some schools and conferences may decide to expand the designation to encompass other duties, such as leading programs and initiatives and managing other areas that touch diversity, inclusion and equity. 

”The ADID is instrumental in helping to advance inclusive excellence as we will share diversity, inclusion and equity-related programs, initiatives and resources with designees that directly impact our student-athletes and athletics departments and conferences in positive ways,” said Niya Blair Hackworth, NCAA director of inclusion.

Unlike the senior woman administrator designation, which is the highest-ranking female in athletics management who provides leadership for men’s and women’s sports and issues, the ADID will receive information specific to a variety of areas that may touch race, gender, LGBTQ, student-athletes who may have disabilities, international student-athletes and other higher education or athletics matters. 

Though there is no specific training required of the ADID, campus and conference leaders may want their ADID to participate in programming and development that will enhance competencies associated with leading and implementing inclusion initiatives. MOIC recommends that designees participate in diversity and inclusion programming, such as the NCAA Inclusion Forum, to stay informed and educated on current issues and topics. MOIC also has a FAQ sheet on its website about the designation.

Schools and conferences were asked to provide designee names through the NCAA Directory by Aug. 1. Schools that have yet to submit names should provide the name and contact information to the NCAA Directory (available in My Apps within Single-Source Sign-On) or email the information to Erin Irick in NCAA research at