It’s been said before, but it bears repeating, this time by Tony Dungy in yesterday’s New York Times:
… With the progress that has been made in terms of diversity in politics, in other collegiate sports and in professional football — Edwards, Smith and Tomlin all got top jobs in the N.F.L. — why is college football hiring so far behind? At a seminar last spring in Indianapolis with other N.F.L. and college head coaches and university athletic directors, I asked that very question, and was enlightened by the responses of those directors. The biggest factor, they said, was the involvement of other people associated with the universities. It was not just the president and the athletic director who made the hiring decisions — alumni and boosters were involved, and the presidents often felt pressure to hire coaches the boosters would support. [Emphasis added.]
That appears to be the biggest difference between the N.F.L. and the N.C.A.A. in hiring practices. While a university president may have to appease alumni, Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, can hire someone like Tomlin without having to consult anyone else.
That’s out of the mouths of athletic directors, who, as a group, aren’t exactly the most courageous group of folks out there.
And that’s the reason college football needs to find a path like the Rooney Rule for itself. Something is needed to acclimate boosters to the reality of today’s world and ADs need the support of a formal rule to rely on to offset the sort of resistance they face in the hiring process. Not only because it’s fair, but also to avoid having a “solution” forced on it.
Again, look at all the attention being paid to the BCS in DC right now. Is government involvement something that college football wants in the area of minority hiring, too? And for those of you who don’t think it can happen, I have two words for you: Title IX.