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College football

Black coaches to issue report

A "report card" on minority hiring practices will be released today.

Published October 20, 2004

GAINESVILLE - As Executive Director of the Black Coaches Association, Floyd Keith is used to ruffling a few feathers when it comes to promoting racial equality.

So he isn't overly concerned about how his organization will be perceived today when the BCA releases its first "report card" on minority hiring, an evaluation of the 28 Division I-A and I-AA schools that had head football coaching positions open during the past year.

Keith made it clear during a recent teleconference that he expects some colleges to be pleased with their grades, others to be unhappy.

"I can't worry about that," he said. "There will be some schools that are going to be mad at the BCA. There are some schools that got good grades."

The BCA and the NCAA agreed to co-sponsor a study on the hiring of football coaches to bring more awareness of the lack of minority hiring. From 1996-2004, there were 142 openings for head coaches at the collegiate level. One black coach was hired each year. The BCA proposed a study of how schools make hires, then a grading system, and three years later the first report card is being released.

"We've been angry for a lot of years because we can't seem to get this point across," Keith said. "We're just calling a spade a spade. It's there. It is what it is. We're not hiding the facts or anything. The end result is we're evaluating the process, and I think the process is what's important for us to understand."

The organization asked each of the 28 schools that had job openings during the past year to complete a form, which was later collected and analyzed by Keith Harrison of the Roberson Center at Arizona State University. Schools that did not comply by completing a form automatically received an "F".

The BCA eventually wants 20 percent of all new coaches to be minority hires.

The grades released today will be based on the BCA's evaluation of hiring practices at 28 Division I-A and I-AA football programs over the past year. The five major categories evaluated are: length and time frame of the search; diversity of the search hiring committee, including the percentage of minorities involved in the hiring process; contact with the BCA during the hiring process; adherence to institutional affirmative action hiring policies and the number of minority candidates who received interviews.

Grades will be announced again next year. After that, the BCA plans to expand the report card to include the hiring of athletic department administrators. Over the past two months, Keith said, he's had calls from administrators and parents of recruits interested in how schools were rated.

"I think there's a sensitivity that's growing as to the extent of this problem and the soon-to-be-realized reality that today, if you are an African-American, you've got a three times better chance of being a general in the United States Army than you do being a head coach in football at any Division I program," Keith said. "Now that's sad. But it's a stark reality and it's true."

Sylvester Croom became the first black head coach in the SEC last year when he was hired by Mississippi State.

"Whatever helps guys get an opportunity to get jobs ... I think that's a positive," Croom said.

[Last modified October 20, 2004, 00:18:19]

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