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Raising grades: Gender and race report cards hold sports organizations accountable for hiring practices

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While coaches and fans keep a close eye on team wins and losses, longtime UCF professor Richard Lapchick monitors another statistic not found in box scores.

Known as the social conscience of sports, Raptic has been monitoring trends in the adoption of gender and race in sports for the past 30 years. As Director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, Lapchick publishes annual race and gender report cards for professionals, colleges and amateurs in her sport. A widely published report card helps the league hold itself accountable for hiring a diverse and inclusive staff.

“The impact of racial reckoning on American society is immense. That included the world of professional and collegiate sports,” he said for sharing social justice and anti-racism messages with new audiences. says Lapchick, who stepped down this fall after 20 years at the helm of UCF’s DeVos Graduate Program in Sports Business Management. “All of that is reflected in the 2021 full race and gender report card.”

2021 Complete Race and Gender Report Card includes Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) , and college sports. The A+ rated WNBA is the only one to score her A or better in the overall stats. NBA was B+, MLS and NFL were B, MLB was C+. Collegiate sports once again finished last in the C’s.

“On too many campuses, opportunities for people of color and women to be recruited into college sports are not yet where they need to be for true diversity, equity and inclusion,” ESPN said in 2022. Lapchick said in a January article.

Gender recruitment practices generally lag behind racial recruitment, according to the report, with only increases in the NFL and MLS. Only the WNBA and NBA scored above her C+, earning A+ and B respectively. The NFL earned a C+ while college sports, MLB and MLS earned a C.

Reports from each of the major professional and collegiate sports are widely referenced by the national sports media. The 2021-2022 report received 1,001 mentions and over $40 million in media coverage from ESPN, NBC Sports and USA Today to The Boston Globe, Time Magazine and Athletic.

grade scale

The study, led by Lapchick and a team of graduate students from the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program, used research from the National Collegiate Athletic Association and aggregated data provided by various professional sports leagues to develop race and gender reports. I am completing the card.

Report cards track the racial and gender composition of players, coaches, managers, front offices, team staff, league offices, game officials, and members of the media. Grades are calculated in relation to society’s overall patterns, based on the federal affirmative action policy, which states that workplaces should reflect the proportion of people of a racial group in the population.

Although there have been improvements over the years, the race and gender report card data suggests professional sports front office hiring practices still reflect the number of players of color competing in the game, Rupchik said. indicates that it is not

“Diversity and inclusion are top priorities. This applies to both our front office/athletic division business operations and sports operations,” says Lapcick. “Typically, aside from head coaches, general managers, team presidents and college athletic directors, the key decision makers in this space are less visible to the public, but influence trends within the industry. It is useful for

The 2021 race and gender report card grades are based on the percentages of racial groups found in the 2010 Census data. For example, if 28.6% of your employees are people of color and 17% are her Bs, you’ll get an A. The scale will switch from the 2022 Report Card to the 2020 Census.

In 2021, bonus points were added for hiring milestones and key social justice initiatives, such as the NBA’s Building Bridges Through Basketball program and the NFL’s Experienceship program. They also began calculating team ownership into final grades.

Final scorecards are typically distributed to the media during the current season of a league or sport, and Lapchick shares them on, a commentator and columnist.

powerful voice

A scholar and author, Lapchik is a well-known human rights activist, racial equality pioneer, and popular expert on sports issues. In addition to TIDES, he is director of the Institute for Sport and Social Justice at his UCF. He was named Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year for 2021 by the Muhammad Ali Center. In 2014, the National Basketball Retired Players Association presented his Lapchick, Bill Russell and Pat Summit with the Life Achievement Award. In 2013, the National Association of Black Journalists awarded Lapchik its Pioneer Award.

So when Raptic speaks, the sports world listens.

“The report card very clearly shows the gaps in representation across all sports and the work that needs to be done,” said Oris, the NBA’s chief people and inclusion officer, in a 2020 UCF Today article. Stuart says.

By tracking gender and race employment statistics over the past 30+ years, the report card serves as a baseline for measuring industry diversity, celebrating gains and milestones while staying behind Point out organizations and organizations that make empty promises.

“When I started engaging with diversity and inclusion 52 years ago, we argued that diversity was a moral imperative, but as diversity becomes a business imperative, such It’s been removed,” says Rapchik. “I think what happened recently is that we are again talking about diversity and inclusion being a moral imperative and a business imperative.”

Full reports for each league and sport can be found at