- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A diversity report released Wednesday on college sports has issued its lowest grade for racial and gender hiring practices in its nearly two-decade history.

The report card from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport says NCAA member schools are hiring fewer women and minorities for sports jobs, while the scores for hiring women in particular have dipped significantly during the past two years.

The combined overall grade for college sports in 2014 was a C with 74 points, down from a C-plus and 79.1 points in 2013. It was the lowest combined score since the first report released in 1997 examined data from 1995 and 1996, said Richard Lapchick, director of University of Central Florida-based TIDES.

Separate scores for gender and racial hiring both fell as well, with the gender score sliding from a B in 2012 to a C-minus in 2014.

“Usually when I write these, I try to give some positive news out there - what’s the good news, the silver lining?” said Lapchick, the report’s lead author. “And I couldn’t come up with any for this one.”

College sports had the lowest grade for racial hiring practices among all sports groups or organizations reviewed by TIDES, while it was now tied with the NFL for the lowest grade on gender hiring practices. The organization also produces report cards on the NBA, WNBA and Major League Baseball, among others.

“I think the scrutiny should bring pressure to bring about changes in the way we hire people at the college level,” Lapchick said.

The report card includes data on head coaches, assistant coaches, athletic directors, conference commissioners and university presidents as well as for the NCAA. It covers the 2013-14 season along with the start of the 2014 football season, while excluding data from historically black colleges and universities.

The report gave college sports a C-plus for racial hiring practices, though the numerical score of 78.5 points represented a slide of nearly four points from a year earlier when the grade was a B.

Worse, the gender score has fallen from 81.3 points in 2012 to 75.9 (C-plus) in 2013 and now 69.4 for 2014.

Women held just 38.2 percent of all head coaching jobs for women’s teams in Division I, 34.8 percent in Division II and 43.9 percent in Division III. The numbers for women in assistant coaching positions for women’s teams hovered between 47 and 51 percent in those three divisions, according to the report.

Whites held between 85 and 91 percent of head-coaching positions for men’s and women’s teams for the three divisions, according to the report. There was a higher percentage of women working as head coaches for men’s teams (5.1 percent) in Division III than black head coaches (4.8 percent).

In leadership positions, the report notes all 11 commissioners of Football Bowl Subdivision conferences were white men in 2014, whites held nearly 88 percent of all Division I athletic director positions and women made up about 10 percent of those jobs.

“It’s going to make it harder to move those numbers because - not because we’re racist or sexist - we tend to hire people who we’re familiar with,” Lapchick said. “And if our circle of colleagues is white and male, it’s going to be more often the case that you turn to a white male to fill what’s an important position for you.”

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Online: http://tidesport.org/

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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