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White men in NCAA majority

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ORLANDO, Fla. — White males make up an overwhelming majority of leaders at NCAA Division I-A programs, from presidents and athletic directors to football coaches and coordinators, according to a university study released Wednesday.

Though small improvements have been made in certain areas, whites hold 330 of the 357 campus leadership positions at the 119 schools, according to the report from the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.

Eighty-one percent (97) of college presidents are white men, even with a 0.8 percent increase from last year in minority presidents. Black men headed four schools (Bowling Green, Indiana, Middle Tennessee State and Ohio), while Latinos led three (Akron, Florida International and New Mexico).

None of the schools had an Asian or American Indian president. Fifteen women, all white, were listed as university presidents.

"I am rarely surprised on issues of race and gender that the movement is so slow to get more people of color and women in those top positions," study author Richard Lapchick said.

Charlotte Westerhaus, the NCAA's vice president for diversity inclusion, said the organization recognizes a diversity problem and is doing more to promote qualified minority hires — including the creation of her office last year.

She said an NCAA task force would present recommendations to president Myles Brand within a year to help diversify the coaching and administrative ranks.

"We're not going to a pay lip service to this. We're going to get some hardcore recommendations that will bring results," she said. "I am optimistic."

Three black men were head football coaches this season (Karl Dorrell at UCLA; Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State; and Tyrone Willingham at Washington), the least since the early '90s. However, the postseason hirings of Ron Prince at Kansas State and Turner Gill at Buffalo contributed to a 1.7 percent overall increase in minority head football coaches since last year.

Westerhaus also noted it was the first time two black men were hired as head coaches in the same year.

Of 241 offensive and defensive coordinators, 212 (88 percent) were white, with 24 black, three Asian and two Latino.

There was a 3.4 percent jump in minority athletic directors over the past year, though 89 percent (106 of 119) are white, with just 10 black men, three Latino men and five women — all white — holding the job.

All 11 Division I-A conference commissioners are white men.

Lapchick said the NCAA should implement rules like the NFL and Major League Baseball that require teams to interview a minority candidate for each coaching vacancy.

"The goal is to open the process to get the best people in the room and hire the best people," Lapchick said. "We feel like once that process is opened up, more African-Americans are going to be hired as presidents, more are going to be hired as athletic directors."

However, Westerhaus said a similar approach wouldn't necessarily work in the NCAA.

"I am confident that the same solutions don't always work for the same problems," she said. "But I will say that the NCAA leadership must become more vigilant and more aggressive in addressing this problem."