Proposed Eddie Robinson rule would lead to more chances for minority candidates

An organization representing minority coaches has proposed a new rule that would provide more opportunities for minority candidates to earn coaching and leadership positions.

The National Association for Coaching Equity and Development, along with the National Consortium for Academics and Sports and The No Hate Zone, has asked NCAA schools to adopt the Eddie Robinson rule, which would require institutions to interview at least one minority candidate for all head-coaching and leadership positions before making their final hires.

In the NFL, the Rooney rule requires teams to interview a minority candidate for executive and head-coaching positions. The NAFCED leadership has asked NCAA schools to voluntarily implement similar measures.

NAFCED, initiated last summer, has replaced the Black Coaches Association in its representation of minority coaches. Dr. Richard Lapchick, the leader of the NCAS and author of the report cards that track diversity issues in sports, has pushed for these measures for years.

"'The Eddie Robinson Rule,' as coined by Dr. Lapchick, is an initiative designed to encourage colleges and universities to voluntarily execute a 'best hiring practices policy' for their department of athletics by pledging to interview at least one, preferably more than one, qualified racial and ethnic minority candidate in their final candidate pool for open head coaching and executive administrative positions," NAFCED said in a statement to The Associated Press and ESPN.com on Friday. "The need for such a rule is borne out of the indisputable fact that racial and ethnic minority coaches are frequently overlooked by the search and hiring process commonly used by colleges and universities."

Lapchick's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at UCF released an annual study before the college football season that reported 87.5 percent of the 128 head football coaches in the FBS were white. Further, almost 80 percent of college presidents and athletic directors at FBS schools are white males.

The NCAA's private-public landscape could pose a challenge to the proposal, but Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith and other prominent collegiate leaders recently told ESPN.com that they would support a Rooney rule in college sports.

Former Michigan State athletic director and NAFCED leader Merritt Norvell said it's time for schools to take action and address the lack of diversity among collegiate coaches, especially in college basketball and college football.

"Everybody seems to be talking about it, but nobody is doing anything about it," Norvell said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.