Dec 15, 2008

College Football's Race Problem

Buffalo's Turner Gill just got dissed!

The NCAA has long dragged their feet on the issue of diversifying the head coaching ranks in college football. In light of Auburn University's recent hire of former Iowa State coach Gene Chizik, the injustice inherent to the appallingly low number of African American head coaches in the sport is that much more pronounced. Chizik won a whopping total of 5 games in two seasons at Iowa State. That's right, 5 games. He lost 19 during this same span, yet he lands one of the top jobs in college football? Even if there was no obvious racial inequity in this hire, it still does not make much sense to hire someone with such a terrible record. But when you consider that Buffalo's Turner Gill was one of the people competing for the same job, and that Gill just defeated previously unbeaten Ball State to win the MAC conference title, this adds insult to injury.

There are only 4 African American head coaches in D1 college football now. This is a shame. The NCAA should be embarrassed. Considering the role that colleges and universities are supposed to play in promoting diversity in this society, such a statistic is quite troubling; not to mention that the NCAA always seems to find time to come up with another arcane rule for some insignificant infraction on the part of a young player. The hypocrisy here is ridiculous. What's really important, making sure that the member institutions are proactive in promoting diversity or penalizing some kid for the relative crumbs that may fall his way due to a corrupt system that he didn't create in the first place?

Charles Barkely is right. Gill was denied the job due to his race and because he is married to a white woman, something that still troubles the good old boys at Auburn it seems. This is another example like that of Ty Willingham from a few years ago, who was fired after three years at Notre Dame, while the so-called genius Charlie Weis remains on the job in spite of his obvious failings. Not that I'm a Willingham fan, but fair is fair.

The NCAA needs to step up and do something about the racism in their ranks. Though the NFL had to be threatened with litigation before taking action, the implementation of the Rooney Rule has clearly made a difference in the number of black coaches who now hold head coaching jobs. The NCAA needs their own version of this rule or else college football will continue to look like the old boys network that it is! This was never cool, but in the age of Obama, it is especially problematic!

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