Central Florida, Cincinnati earn A's in Tucker Center study
Central Florida and Cincinnati are still the two schools that consistently employ women as head coaches of their women's teams.
For the second consecutive year, those two programs are the only NCAA institutions to receive an A on the report card released by the University of Minnesota's Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport.
The study is in its fourth year and conducted in partnership with the Alliance for Women's Coaches.
The data was collected between Nov. 1 and Nov. 20 and analyzes the head coaching rosters for 86 institutions across geographic regions, all of which are members of one of the seven "big-time" NCAA Division I conferences. After determining the percentage of female head coaches for women's teams, each of the 86 schools was assigned a grade: Schools with 70-100 percent of their women's teams coached by women earned an A; 55-69 percent earned a B; 40-54 percent a C; 25-39 a D; and 0-24 percent an F.
And just like last year, a gap still exists between the two top schools -- Central Florida (88.9 percent female) and Cincinnati (80 percent) -- and the next-closest school: Southern Methodist, which employs seven female head coaches and four male, for a 63.6 percent rate (B).
On the other end of the spectrum are three schools that employ only one female head coach and earned failing grades: Oklahoma State (12.5 percent), Syracuse (9.1) and West Virginia (9.1). Seven other schools also received an F: North Carolina State (16.7), Kentucky (16.7), Kansas (18.2), Arkansas (18.2), Vanderbilt (22.2), Tulsa (22.2) and Baylor (22.2).
The differences are slight between last year's report and this year's, though a few notable changes exist. Last year, Xavier anchored the report with no female head coaches. This year, however, the school hired two women and leapfrogged a number of schools, earning a D.
For the first time in the study's history, more schools received A's and B's (15 schools) than received an F (10 schools). And for the third consecutive year, the percentage of female head coaches increased slightly, going from 39.6 percent in 2013-14, to 40.2 percent in 2014-15 and 41.1 percent last year.
"The goals of this annual report card is to create awareness, stimulate dialogue and get everyone on the same page to help increase the percentage of women coaches," said Nicole LaVoi, co-director at the Tucker Center. "I believe we are starting to realize these goals, and I am encouraged by the slight increase in NCAA D-1 women head coaches for three years running."
Some sports consistently employ more female head coaches than others. For example, field hockey, lacrosse, golf, equestrian and softball all employ women at a 70 percent rate or higher. On the other hand, cross country, swimming, track and field, water polo and alpine skiing all employ fewer than 24 percent female head coaches.
And of the 76 head coaching vacancies this past year for women's teams, a male head coach was hired 53.9 percent of the time. Still, that rate allowed for a net gain of seven female head coaches this past year.