In your April column of the “Last Word,” (April 11) Hill et al. suggested that a
deeper investigation needs to be conducted concerning the hiring processes for NCAA Division I-A football. Although I agree with this and most of the other points that were presented, obtaining relevant and meaningful data would be extremely difficult at best.
Even though a large school’s athletic director formally publicizes the program’s hirings, his or her decision is currently heavily influenced by the wealthiest of boosters. As we all know, these individuals informally converse in a highly exclusive capacity. Roy Kramer, the outgoing commissioner of the SEC, stated this outright in an interview directly addressing this topic with ABC’s John Saunders. Unfortunately, this interview was broadcast last August and far removed from the season’s peak.
Until these universities develop critical masses of philanthropists (alumni and former athletes) who are genuinely concerned with hiring the best head coaching candidate available, have resources substantial enough to persuade decision-making, or perceive having an African American head coach as a recruiting advantage over other schools, then change in the hiring process will be slow. Instead, those seeking diversity at this position should look to those other decision-makers who really possess the highest power. They are the parent(s) of highly touted prospective college athletes. It’s no accident that Notre Dame and Tyrone Willingham, who both prioritize education first, just recruited their best incoming class in decades.
Ali P. Gordon
Doctoral Student, Mechanical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com