Report Indicates Lack of Gender, Racial Diversity in Women’s College Athletics Administration

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The majority of female athletic teams at American colleges and universities are led by male coaches, and most of those coaches are white, according to a report released last week in commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the passage of Title IX — the law designed to guarantee gender equality in public schools and taxpayer-funded athletic programs.

The report, titled Gender, Race, and LGBT Inclusion of Head Coaches of Women’s Teams, was produced in collaboration between the Tucker Center for Research on Women and Girls in Sport, the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES), and LGBT SportSafe.

Researchers with the Tucker Center and TIDES used a grading system to assess gender and racial diversity among head coaches of women’s college sports teams in eight Division I conferences of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The only conference to earn a B or above for gender diversity was that of Ivy League institutions, where 55 percent of women’s teams are led by female coaches. Rankings for racial diversity were even lower, with four conferences earning an F, meaning that less than 11 percent of their women’s teams are led by a coach of color.

Overall, only 43 percent of women’s teams at the 94 schools in the eight conferences had female head coaches, and just over 12 percent had coaches of color. The report’s findings are consistent with past surveys of women’s collegiate athletics, indicating that diversity efforts in this area have stagnated, according to the authors of the report.

The report also included a special section to recognize colleges and universities that have made strides in LGBTQ inclusion in college athletics — although it did not include specific data on such efforts. The section was produced by LGBT SportSafe, and included the eight schools currently participating in its inclusion program. Institutions receiving top rankings in this area include Northwestern University and the University of Oregon.