Dr. Richard Lapchick last November, in his annual report card on campus leadership positions, wrote, “The general picture [is that] White men run college sport.” The University of Minnesota continues to provide a specific illustration of that general picture.
U of M Athletic Director Norwood Teague announced during a February 28 meeting with local reporters, including the MSR, that Beth Goetz will start next month as senior associate athletics director and senior women’s administrator. Two additional positions, associate AD of strategic communications and a new marketing director, Teague said he hopes to have filled soon.
“I’m busy building a team,” stated Teague, who was hired as Gopher AD last April.
However with Goetz’s hiring, Teague’s senior administration remains nearly all White, since all of his hires, including Executive Associate Athletics Director David Benedict, have been non-Black.
When asked to comment on this, Teague responded, “It is an issue. I am proud on how on my last job [at Virginia Commonwealth University] we did a really good job in that area. [Diversity] is on my heart all the time. I think about it constantly, but we got to keep working on it and I am not going to let up.”
Benedict later pointed to former Gopher basketball player Quincy Lewis being hired last fall as an assistant officer with the Golden Gopher Fund as an example of the athletic department’s commitment to diversity. “He’s a great addition to our staff,” he noted. “It’s nice that he helps us from a diversity standpoint.”
However, Lewis is not listed as a member of the 12-person senior administration staff, whereas Leo Lewis [no relation] is the only Black administrator.
Teague complained that it is hard to attract Blacks to athletics administration jobs.
“I give credit to Quincy — he could’ve done a lot of things in his career, but he chose to come back,” added Benedict. “After having a professional [basketball] career and being at the level that Quincy was, he came back and volunteered here to learn the business. He got the basic experience he needed so that we could hire him at a full-time capacity and justify it.
“It’s about being able to recruit and have people that are people of color who are interested in coming here,” said Benedict of his department’s historically poor diversity record. “We have done some searches, but I know the candidates haven’t been that diverse. It is going to take a lot of people and a long time to grow that diversity.”
Whites hold nearly 91 percent of all campus leadership positions, said Lapchick in his November 2012 report, adding that there was “no change in quantity” from his analysis of a year earlier. “College sport still lags behind professional sports with opportunities for women and people of color for the top jobs,” he noted. “The percentages remained stagnant in most categories.”
Finally, asked if this area is perceived as being “too White and too cold” by out-of-state Blacks, Benedict replied, “I haven’t had that conversation with anyone at this point in time. It wasn’t a drawback for me.
“It’s not whether we want to or don’t want to [hire Blacks],” he concluded. “It has to do on who are the candidates for the actual positions that we are out looking for.”
Next: Lapchick’s latest report on diversity in mainstream print media sports departments.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to [email protected]