Helping sports organization solve integrity, growth, and development challenges

Gender Race and Other Issues

Q: What role should the athletics policy board play in advancing diversity?

A:   In higher education, an athletics policy board, usually named the Intercollegiate Athletics Council, consisting of faculty, administrators and alumni from outside the athletics department is often a governance association requirement.  Even if it isn’t, having an objective, majority faculty oversight board in place to annually review key diversity performance indicators and to be involved and invested in the achievement of diversity objectives is very beneficial.  Consideration should be given to establishing a goal for this group to be 40-60% minority (female and non-white), because i

Q: How Can Athletic Departments Be More Aggressive Recruiting Minority Staff in the Marketplace?

ANSWER:  Athletic Director leadership is everything when it comes to encouragement of minority recruiting.  Require the hiring supervisor for any open position to identify the top female and minority prospects regionally and nationally for that position and to personally call or visit those prospects to urge them to apply.  Waiting for “paper candidates” is simply not good enough when supply does not meet demand.  The process for developing a top recruiting list is as  simple as developing a scholarship prospect list – you must identify the talent.  Start by calling the top

Q: Will “cheerleading” ever be recognized by the Office for Civil Rights as a legitimate sport?

A:  Cheerleading?  No.  STUNT?  Probably, at some point in the future. 

Given longstanding direction from both Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (DOE-OCR) and the NCAA (see extended discussion below), no school can count cheerleaders as athletes for purposes of Title IX, whether the school classifies those cheerleaders as “sideline cheerleaders” or “competitive cheerleaders” and whether those cheerleaders compete or not, without DOE-OCR approval to do so.

Q: Is Violence on the Playing Field A Male Issue?

A:  The environment we create for our children and student-athletes is the result of a complex interplay of numerous social contexts and interactions.  The print and electronic media, major sporting events and, in general, the cultural institution of sport, play a major role in the fabric of the lives of American youth.  Any cultural institution that invites or celebrates male aggression and violence contributes to the problem.  Professional sport in our society does that.  Male violent behavior is not only often unquestioned, it is often celebrated in sport (as it is in war) as heroic and

Q: How can Athletics Directors or Executive Directors of open amateur sports programs help control unnecessary violence in sport?

A:  The real challenge is to ask what can each of us do to clearly integrate for our coaches and student-athletes the notions of aggression, competition and respect for our opponents.  Can we explain the difference between making a clean block or crisp tackle and initiating body contact with the intent to maim?  Can we remove hate language and the denigration of any group from the locker room (and classroom, and hallways) and make it clear that both are unacceptable?  Change occurs one person at a time with one small act at a time.  Which of the following can you do?

Title IX Assessment – Do It Yourself or Hire A Consultant?

Any institutional Title IX compliance officer or Athletics Director (AD) has the ability to execute a Title IX assessment.  Simply go online, print out the Office of Civil Rights Title IX Investigator’s Manual and follow 130 pages of instructions specifying the data to collect and how to analyze it.   Interview every head coach, three to four top athletics administrators, and other selected staff members.   Visit every office, practice and competitive facility, locker room, training room and equipment storage area.  These are some of the reasons why most schools don’t do a Title IX complian

Q: How would you design a diversity program that resonates with coaches?

A:  Coaches are often the most literal among athletic department employees with regard to needing to see the practical application of theory.   Thus, the success of in-service diversity programs will increase in relation to (1) the perceived utility of the information presented to the user, (2) respect for the expertise of the presenter  and (3) whether there is an emotional connection between the presenter and the audience.  Traditional diversity workshops are often led by presenters who do not connect with coaches with regard to the practical realities they face.  Thus, the Director of At