Diversity in many aspects of our lives is encouraged and everyone seems to be claiming that they have it in their own institutions. But the reality is, there is progress and yet there is still work to be done. After all diversity is the “hallmark of our nation.”
The most recent shift has been in the sports arena at the college and professional level. An NCAA survey reveals that only 40 percent of head coaches in women’s sports are women. There was a time that having a successful college sports team was very lucrative so there were incentives to specific coaches and players to get the best. Success of a sports team continues to be lucrative for colleges but they are no longer able to give incentives and the “old school” network still lingers.
The NCAA has taken steps toward change by creating a pledge initiative to urge all presidents and chancellors to seek ethnic, racial and gender diversity when looking for new coaches and directors. Coaches of diverse backgrounds can be relatable to athletes and provide different perspectives and experiences. The first female NFL official, Sarah Thomas was hired in 2015 and there are more to follow. If we are advertising diversity in the classroom, the administration should be held to the same standards.
Presidents of these institutions must lead by example when it comes to providing access to career opportunities not only in the sports arena but in the academic ranks. The future belongs to those students and student athletes and for their own paths to leadership and success.