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SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 16: The NCAA logo is seen in the second half of the game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 16, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Race, Gender & the Athletic Director

Why this matters

The latest Global Sport Matters Podcast features two voices striving to improve racial equity in college sport, Stan Johnson and Tamica Smith-Jones, who discuss how to change university presidents' minds about hiring diverse candidates into athletic director positions.

Monthly Issue The Administration of Change

On today’s episode of the Global Sport Matters Podcast, our host, Kenneth Shropshire, CEO of the Global Sport Institute is joined by the Director of Research at Global Sport Institute, Scott Brooks, to host a pair of insiders in college sports to discuss the current landscape for NCAA athletic directors.

Their guests are consultant and executive director of Minority Opportunities Athletic Association Stan Johnson and former AD now COO for Kennesaw State University Tamica Smith-Jones. They discuss the people and experiences behind the numbers and the "shape of the river" for athletic directors and college sport.

In keeping with the Global Sport Institute's most recent Field Study on athletic director career pathways, the discussion also leads to how HBCUs function within the broader sports landscape, and how they provide a jumping-off point for young sports administrators of Color.

"It was a game-changer in my life," says Smith-Jones of starting her career at an HBCU.

Coming from the consulting world, Johnson separates potential hires into three groups: suspects, prospects and candidates. All too often, Johnson says, racial minorities do not even make it into the actual candidate pool, even if they are interviewed to be NCAA athletic directors.

That is because of a lack of opportunity to form meaningful relationships with the other folks in the institution or network to the same degree that White men can in the industry.

"We've been stagnant for the last 20 years," says Johnson.

To close the show, the panel discusses how to best make a case to a college president of why a diverse hire is the right choice, and how data can help inform those decisions.

Monthly Issue

The Administration of Change

Higher education is an environment ripe for discovery, new knowledge, and innovation. However, the role of Athletic Director at university levels still reflect the commonly seen disparities between representation of race, gender, experience, and perhaps most ironically - education level.

Beyond Black and White, what are the underlying factors for the still murky ‘pipeline’ to administrative leadership in U.S. college sport?