Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Does the Percentage of Black Coaches ‘Still Fall Short’?


It’s commonly complained that the answer is yes, and that’s the answer given by an article today in The Chronicle of Higher Education. But I’ve posted my skepticism:

Tony Dungy was right when he wrote in The N.Y. Times that “I don’t think we need any magical formulas or special programs. . . . Our universities merely need to do what’s right — hire the best candidates, regardless of race.” I’m somewhat skeptical that major college football programs — which no one suggests place too little emphasis on winning — are willfully refusing to hire the best coaches.

The statistics cited in this article, like all the other articles I’ve read on this theme, are unpersuasive. The most commonly cited statistic, for example, is the percentage of African American college football players, but that is not a good point of comparison, nor is the percentage of African Americans in the general population. If, instead, we make the reasonable assumption that generally college football coaches are males who have a college degree and at least a decade’s worth of coaching experience, it’s hard to see how the current number “falls short.” That number is, according to this article, 13 out of 120, which is about 11 percent; among males who were 30 or over in 2007 (the most recent year for which I could find Census Bureau data the last time I looked, less than a year ago), fewer than 7 percent of the bachelor’s degrees were held by African Americans.

The Rooney Rule, by the way, is illegal, as I explain here.


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