UCF Earns ‘A’ for Inclusive Hiring Practices of Women’s Coaches

UCF Earns ‘A’ for Inclusive Hiring Practices of Women’s Coaches

UCF women’s basketball Coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson.

UCF was the only school to earn an ‘A’ for racial and gender hiring practices for women’s teams’ head coaches in a new report released today.

The study was produced by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at UCF, the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota, and LGBT SportSafe. It was undertaken for the 45th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark federal education legislation that helped create opportunities for women and girls to play sports.

Data on head coaches of women’s teams was collected for eight conferences. In addition to UCF’s American Athletic Conference, the study looked at the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, Southeastern and Big East conferences and the Ivy League. Both the Big East and the Ivy League have female commissioners.

The two schools with the highest percentage of female head coaches of women’s teams were UCF and Cincinnati, which were the only schools that got the equivalent of an A with 80 percent of their head coaches being women.

UCF also was awarded an A for its racial hiring because 30 percent of its head coaches are coaches of color.

Of the 16 grades for the conferences – eight for race and eight for gender — there were twice as many Fs as there were Bs. All of the Fs were the result of records on the hiring practices of people of color on women’s teams.

“I have been writing Racial and Gender Report Cards for 25+ years and have never graded any league or college sport in general with an F,” said Richard Lapchick, chair of UCF’s DeVos Sport Business Management graduate program and director of TIDES. “Having four conferences get an F was a stunning result. But the record for hiring women to coach women’s teams was even more abysmal because these are women’s teams.”

A majority of the coaches were male at 56.9 percent, while only 43.1 percent were female. The Ivy League, with 55 percent, had the highest percentage of women’s coaches.

Overall, 87.9 percent of head coaches of women’s teams across the conferences were white, while only 6.9 percent of head coaches were African-American. Additionally, Latino coaches were 2.8 percent, Asian coaches 2.2 percent, and Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders were less than 1 percent.

The American Athletic Conference received the highest grade of a B as a result of 18.2 percent of head coaches being of color. All the other conferences received grades of C or F.

Lapchick made several calls to action in the report to correct “these overwhelmingly discouraging results,” including having the NCAA create and maintain a list of diverse pools of candidates that member institutions can access to find candidates and reduce the cost and duplication for each school of finding candidates on their own.

“Forty-five years after the passage of Title IX, millions of girls and women bear the benefits of playing sport,” he said. “Sixty-three years after the Supreme Court mandated school integration in Brown vs. the Board of Education, children of color go to integrated schools and play sports on the same teams with white children. We need to kick down the remaining doors so those who coach our teams look more like those playing on our teams.”

TIDES serves as a comprehensive resource for issues related to gender and race in amateur, collegiate and professional sports. Lapchick leads the TIDES research team in the DeVos Sport Business Management program, which is part of the College of Business at UCF.