Minority coaches pushing for NCAA to adopt a ‘Rooney Rule’ similar to NFL

The National Association for Coaching Equity and Development (NAFCED) is pushing the NCAA to adopt a rule that requires the NCAA’s member institutions to interview at least one candidate of color for opening head coaching positions.

Longtime equality activist Richard Lapchick joins the group, lobbying for what they are calling the “Eddie Robinson Rule,” similar to the NFL’s Rooney Rule which mandates the same interview requirement.

The Robinson Rule would aim to, “address the negligent hiring practices which consistently exclude racial and ethnic minority coaches and administrators from positions of leadership in intercollegiate athletics.”

NAFCED was formed last year to combat the dwindling numbers of minority coaches in college sports after the once powerful Black Coaches Association faded. Prominent members include Texas Tech basketball coach Tubby Smith, Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III and Texas coach Shaka Smart.

Lapchick’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida released an annual study before the college football season that reported 87.5 percent of the 128 head football coaches in the NCAA’s Bowl Subdivision were white.

Merrit Norvell, NAFCED’s Executive Director, said that the association’s leaders plan to meet with NCAA leadership and conference commissioners in the coming months.

However, the biggest question is whether the NCAA has the authority to enforce such as rule over such a wide number of member schools, which are public and private institutions. Lapchick says, “I think this is the first step. Bringing Congress in to act would be a positive second step.”

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports

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