Phi Beta Cons

What Do the NFL and American Higher Ed Have in Common?

The answer is that both have become obsessed with “diversity.” So argues Texas attorney Mark Pulliam in this sharp essay.

Pulliam focuses in particular on the NFL’s “Rooney Rule,” which requires NFL teams to interview “minority” candidates for head coaching and senior football jobs. The purpose of the rule was simple — to placate the race hustlers and avoid discrimination suits and bad publicity. The higher education establishment works with a de facto Rooney Rule. Faculty and administrative positions must have the right proportions of “minorities” — at least the minorities that count. Rather than pursuing excellence, higher ed pursues another goal: “achieving ‘diversity,’ currying favor with the political correctness crowd.”

Recently, Pulliam writes, his school (University of Texas) adopted a policy that’s “explicitly based on the Rooney Rule, with the avowed goal of making the UT faculty, administrators, and campus leaders more representative of UT’s student body.” Under that policy, supposedly only “qualified” candidates are to be interviewed, but there is, he writes, a “big wink,” namely that every pool of candidates must include women and “underrepresented minorities.” Moreover, “in a departure from the colorblindness that typically accompanies the application process, candidates must be allowed to ‘flag’ their gender and ‘membership in an underrepresented group.’”

There is, however, a large difference between the NFL and higher ed. In the former, there remains a metric of success — winning games. But “Academia has no corresponding criterion for success.”

Read the whole thing.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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