Today the Black Coaches Association released its third annual “Hiring Report Card” on how colleges are doing in hiring minorities as head football coaches; there’s an article about the report in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education online and the report itself has now also been posted.
The good news is that the foreword of the report at least acknowledges that what matters is not diversity but nondiscrimination: “We want the best candidates, irrespective of color, to be interviewed for the opening.… Next, the BCA wants the best candidate to be chosen irrespective of race.”
The bad news is that the methodology by which schools are graded is largely and clumsily numbers driven. And, if the Chronicle report today is correct, it’s not clear that there’s even a numbers problem to be addressed.
The article says, “Fifteen percent of head-coaching vacancies in football went to minority applicants in the 2005-6 academic year”; later it says, “Despite the gains, minority coaches are still sharply underrepresented in college football. While more than half of the football players in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s top division are African-American students, just 5 percent of the head football coaches at that level are members of racial minorities.”
Let’s put aside the fact that there seems to be an equation of “African Americans” to “minorities” here (perhaps, in the context of college football, the two are, after all, pretty close). But, as a matter of law and common sense, if we’re trying to see if applicants are given a fair shot regardless of race, what matters is the percentage of minorities among qualified applicants for head coaching jobs—not the percentage of African Americans among those being coached. And surely that number is closer to the 15 percent who were actually hired than the 50+ percent being coached, since the percentage of African Americans in the general population is only about 13 percent (and, if we limit the number to those who graduated from college and did so at least, say, 5 years ago—you can’t expect to get one of these head coaching job straight out of college, right?—the figure will be even lower).