LEAD1, MOAA, and The Black AD Alliance Coalition to Launch Initiative Examining Search Firm Placements and FBS Athletics Department Hiring Trends in Order to Increase Opportunities for Athletic Administrators and Coaches of Color
The LEAD1 Association (LEAD1), Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA) and The Black AD Alliance, which formed a Coalition in April 2022 to bring college sports practitioners together to increase dialogue on DEI issues in college sports, today announced an initiative that “will examine search firm placements and FBS athletics department hiring trends on an annual basis in order to spotlight the DEI issues which exist across the landscape of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) leadership and create more opportunities for athletic administrators and coaches of color.”
The current inequities and lack of diversity throughout the FBS “is underscored by NCAA data from 2020-21,” which shows that just 19% of FBS athletics director jobs and 19% of FBS head coaching positions across all sports – 485 out of 2,616 total positions – are held by people of color. Even further, in the FBS 82% of football head coaching roles are held by white males, 77% of men’s basketball head coaches are white males, and just 30% of women’s basketball head coaches are people of color. In stark contrast to these numbers, the same NCAA records indicate that 60% of FBS football, 78% of men’s basketball and 73% of women’s basketball student-athletes are people of color.
The inspiration for examining search firm involvement in the hiring process stems from LEAD1’s previously released white paper entitled “Actionable Recommendations to Create More Diverse Senior Leadership in NCAA Division I FBS College Sports.” The paper asserts that search firms serve as a “public trust” and must be responsible for helping guarantee fairness, as well as integrity and inclusion in the hiring process.
The Coalition recently conducted a review of leadership hires made in the FBS over the last five years using data provided by the top collegiate sports search firms in the country. Results show that incremental progress has been made in certain categories, with 32% of all FBS athletics director, 40% of conference commissioner, 26% of head football coach, 47% of head men’s basketball coach and 55% of head women’s basketball coach openings having been filled by people of color.
However, the Coalition stressed that significant change is still needed and in order to track progress it is committed to conducting an annual review of FBS hirings made within administrator and coaching leadership ranks. The goal of the Coalition’s project is to increase transparency between people of color and decision-makers in the search process.
Hiring data for the Coalition’s study was provided by search firms including, CarrSports Consulting, College Sports Solutions, Collegiate Sports Associates, DHR Global, Korn Ferry, Parker Executive Search, TurnkeyZRG, and WittKieffer.
A full list of FBS leadership hires in these categories placed by the above search firms over the last five years can be found by clicking here.
The Coalition released the following statement on today’s announcement:
“As we continue to unpack the important elements of collegiate athletic search processes, this collection of data is a significant step into better understanding the hiring outcomes over the past five years. Examining the data not only allows us to better understand hiring results, but more importantly, to advance discourse around ways to better position administrators and coaches of color seeking to successfully navigate the oftentimes confounding search process. As former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “sunlight is the best disinfectant,” and that principle of enhanced disclosure is critically important in college sports to address racial inequities in the hiring process.”