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Report: Minorities Hold Few Top College Sports Jobs in Michigan

Report: Minorities Hold Few Top College Sports Jobs in Michigan


Although state universities and the NCAA have discussed the issue of diversity for decades, nine out of 10 jobs in Michigan college athletics are still going to White candidates, and three out of four to men.

The findings of a study by The Detroit News were reported last month.

Even as numbers have increased on the field, minorities and women have hit a hiring wall, the newspaper reported, and although some schools have launched internship programs, the efforts have yet to pay off.

Ron Stratten, who oversees minority internship programs for the NCAA, the governing body for college athletics nationwide, said he believes the numbers are the result of an “entrenched, covert racism in intercollegiate athletics.”

“I don’t see it changing unless you consciously decide to make a change,” he says. “Our athletics administrators, our presidents, have to make a conscious decision that they are going to change their hiring practices.”

Over the past four years, 184 jobs with combined earnings of $12 million have been created or filled in athletics at the 13 Michigan public universities with NCAA-sanctioned sports programs. Nineteen of those jobs, just over 10 percent, went to Blacks, and 163 went to Whites.

But not everyone sees an underlying force at work denying minorities and women chances to progress.

“It seems in some areas, there just aren’t enough people to go around,” says Ron Mason, Michigan State’s athletics director. “What’s happening is, a lot of good and qualified minority people are leaving here for other jobs.”

In 1996, women held 25 percent of the jobs and made 19 percent of the money. Today, they hold 26 percent of the jobs, and bring in 21 percent of the money. Not one woman holds a job in a men’s sport, but more than four out of 10 coaches of women’s sports are men.

The highest-paid minority woman in the state is University of Michigan head basketball coach Sue Guevara, who is Hispanic, at $148,068.

In 1996 there were seven Hispanic coaches in the state, making 1.1 percent of the total income. Today there are six Hispanic coaches — and their earnings are 1 percent of the total.

“I’m not surprised,” Guevara says. “I don’t know if the Hispanic youth of today playing in high schools or colleges are unaware of the opportunities in coaching and administration, or if it’s something they’re not interested in. They’d rather be doctors or lawyers or in business.”

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