Oregon's 'Rooney Rule' expected to become law

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

A bill that would require Oregon state universities to interview at least one minority candidate when hiring head coaches or athletic directors rolled through the state Senate on a 52-0 vote Tuesday, and Gov. Ted Kulongoski is expected to sign the bill, making Oregon the first state to enact such a law.

Good for Oregon.

Only seven of the 119 FBS programs have black head coaches even though roughly 50 percent of the players are black. Four of those black coaches -- Miami of Ohio's Mike Haywood, New Mexico State's DeWayne Walker, New Mexico's Mike Locksley and Eastern Michigan's Ron English -- were hired last year. So obviously none were added at BCS schools.

And the lack of diversity extends through all divisions, according this story, "Excluding historically black colleges and universities, only 3.9 percent of the 582 football programs in Divisions I, II and III have coaches of color, according to the NCAA."

The NFL has a "Rooney Rule," upon which the Oregon bill was based. Six of the 32 NFL head coaches are black.

The idea isn't to force an institution to hire anybody. It's not affirmative action.

It simply requires closed networks to at least pretend to open up. It says, "You want to hire this guy. Fine. But at least talk to this guy."

The idea is that a forced, even perfunctory, interview might open some eyes and, in the long term, increase diversity.

Note how debate also improved the law -- the process works! -- by setting an expiration date for the law of 2020.

Like I said: Good for Oregon.