Athletic Director and Head Coach roles to be impacted by pending diversity, inclusion, and equity legislation
Grambling, LA – May 4, 2021 – The Louisiana House Education Committee unanimously voted in support of District 58 Representative Ken Brass’s presentation of HCR 19, a bill that answers to growing an emphasis on racial and gender diversity gaps in Louisiana’s college sports leadership. If passed by the House of Representatives, Senate, and ultimately signed by the governor, the bill would authorize a series of initiatives to be led by The Doug Williams Center, including the creation of the Louisiana Minority Sports Initiative Task Force.
“Receiving unanimous support from the House Education Committee sends a resounding message that we recognize the issues affecting our communities and that change is imperative,” said Representative Brass. “Advancing this bill is one of many recent events that confirms the faith I have in our legislation to advance our state in every way, including to make hiring practices more equitable for qualified minority and woman candidates.”
Answering the call for diversity in sports leadership
The Task Force will be comprised of Board of Regents Higher Education representatives, university presidents and directors of athletics, representatives of the New Orleans Pelicans and Saints, along with private sector business owners. Together, they will study and develop solutions for the racial and gender hiring gap within Louisiana college sports administration. Positions affected by this legislation include college Athletic Directors and Head Coaches at public universities across the State of Louisiana. The Doug Williams Center is at the front of the effort to promote more people of color and women into sports administration roles.
“Taking collective action to promote equitable hiring practices is an important part of our overall approach to resolving the issue of racial and gender inclusion in sports leadership,” said Brandon A. Logan, Executive Director of The Doug Williams Center. “Ultimately, passing HCR 19 will directly impact the recruitment, hiring, training, development and retention of underrepresented and marginalized candidates for these impactful roles.”
The Doug Williams Center, an affiliate of Grambling State University, provides research and support for diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout collegiate and professional sports, working with partners such as the NFL and Learfield IMG College. If passed, HCR 19 will task The Doug Williams Center to develop a program that expands the pool of ethnic and gender diverse candidates. The Center will provide various types of training, such as coaching clinics, diversity recruiting, and organizational leadership throughout the state.
Closing the equity gap
Although the majority of student-athletes nationwide are people of color, head coaching positions and sports administration roles remain dominated by white candidates. The 2019-20 NCAA Demographics Database provides that 56% of all players, 48% of all coaching assistants, and only 28% of all head coaches were Black. According to the NCAA, there are currently only 52 women athletic directors currently working at Division 1 schools, and 55 Black athletic directors. Black athletes continue driving athletic revenues throughout the sports landscape, yet the majority of their coaches and athletic directors are not people of color. As there is no shortage of qualified people of color for these roles, the lack of representation only creates a multi-tiered negative experience for student-athletes of all races and genders. The experiential deficiency that monochromatic hiring creates for student-athletes is an issue that Louisiana’s most prominent education leaders are determined to solve.
University of Louisiana System President, Dr. Jim Henderson, also testified in favor of HCR 19 alongside Representative Brass. Dr. Henderson is a founding member of DWC’s Advisory Board and a champion for diversity and equity throughout the state’s education system.
“The Committee’s approval of HCR 19 elevates DWC’s work to emphasize the importance of a more inclusive sports culture,” said Dr. Jim Henderson, President of the University of Louisiana System and DWC Advisory Board member. “It is imperative that leaders reflect the communities they serve, especially in collegiate athletics, and addressing the racial and gender hiring gap is vital in creating a more equitable Louisiana.”
A growing grassroots effort to bring attention to the racial discrepancy in sports leadership has picked up momentum in different parts of the country, such as the Black Coaches Matter protests in California. However, the recent unanimous House vote demonstrates that Louisiana is taking the issue seriously and acting with haste.
About The Doug Williams Center
Founded in 2020, The Doug Williams Center exists to build an ever-growing network of solutions for diversity and inclusion in collegiate and professional sports. The Center is a learning commons and advancement space for audiences to examine the history of race and politics in American sports and build holistic perspectives on the cultural impact to provide resources for ongoing social progress. With the support of its esteemed Advisory Board and multi-disciplinary academicians, the Center offers thought leadership and practical resources to sports industry entities. A hub for academic of research and development, The Doug Williams Center is an affiliate of Grambling State University.