Fritz Pollard Alliance seeks expansion of rule beyond head coaches, GMs

The Fritz Pollard Alliance will recommend a formal expansion of the NFL's Rooney Rule in the wake of a hiring cycle that left the league with four minority head coaches and one minority general manager.

The Rooney Rule requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for key leadership positions.

The Alliance, an independent organization that works with the NFL to champion diversity, will suggest that the rule be expanded beyond head coaches and general managers. The Alliance also wants the NFL to mandate that more than one diverse candidate be interviewed for those jobs.

"We believe this latest hiring cycle underlines that the league's commitment to diversity and inclusion needs to be reevaluated," Rod Graves, executive director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, told ESPN's Josina Anderson. "There is a good ol' boy system in the league that continues to benefit only a few, regardless of merit or results. We're in a time within our industry that demands better hiring practices. We're striving to make a great game better."

The Alliance has scheduled a town hall for Tuesday to coincide with Senior Bowl activities in Mobile, Alabama. Minority coaches, scouts and front-office executives are scheduled to participate.

The NFL is expected to consider multiple ideas for enhancing the Rooney Rule this offseason. Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II told the NFL Network earlier this week that the league is "not where we want to be [and] not where we need to be."

"We need to take a step back and look at what's happening with our hiring processes," Rooney said. "The first thing we'll do, as part of our diversity committee, is really review this past season's hiring cycle and make sure we understand what went on and talk to the people involved both on the owner's side, management's side as well as the people that were interviewed.

"The thing I think we have to look at is back when the Rooney Rule was passed and put in effect in 2003, there was a period there where we did see an increase in minority hiring at the head-coaching position. And I think over a period of time there were 10 or 12 minority coaches hired. Since then, that trend seems to reverse itself, particularly in the last few years. We need to study what's going on and understand better what's going on and really decide how we improve the situation."