BCA's list of minority candidates reveals diversity candidates are plentiful
Posted: Friday March 5, 2004 7:59PM; Updated: Friday March 5, 2004 8:00PM
Each time a top college football head coaching opening is filled with a non-minority, those advocating diversity candidates are quick to attack the hiring practices -- and often they're on point. It doesn't take Inspector Clouseau to realize something is shaky when only five of the 117 Division I-A head coaches are African-American. But my gripe with those doign the complaining has often been that they themselves do a lousy job getting the word out and promoting top minority candidates.
In other words, don't fault the media for failing to toss a minority into the speculative mix when jobs come open. If you have a list of qualified guys, let us see it and we'll spread the names.
A source affiliated with the Black Coaches Association -- a well-respected basketball coach, at that -- provided a list of 41 "leading candidates,'' which is drawn from the collegiate ranks of former head coaches who are still active, Division I-A top assistants and Division I-AA head coaches (See the complete list at right.) I'm told there is another list of nearly as many names that is compromised of assistants from the NFL.
"These guys are all capable candidates in some way, shape or form for some Division I institution,'' said Floyd Keith, head of the Black Coaches Association.
Among the college coaches who caught my attention were three hot, young defensive coordinators: Randy Shannon (Miami), Charlie Strong (Florida) and Tyrone Nix (Southern Mississippi). On the other side of the ball, you figure it won't be long before someone snaps up offensive whiz Norm Chow (Southern Cal).
The entire list is apparently made available to athletic directors and college presidents. So ignorance should no longer be an excuse.
The business of Sunday night hoops
As if the ACC needed more juice, the conference has a sweet deal in its Sunday night broadcast package on Fox Sports Net. No other conference in the country regularly plays on that night. So that national showcase helps polish up the conference's resume, as well as producing a few extra TV dollars to spread amongst the members.
Coaches say the showcase is great for recruiting, too. The drawback is it's pushing college sports another step closer to a professional-type schedule. And worse, according to some coaches, it further drains players, particularly those who have Monday morning classes.
Case in point: Considering their team's scheduled 8 p.m. tipoff this Sunday at Maryland, don't bet on Virginia student-athletes being back on campus until after midnight. And teams that fly commercial likely won't return home until Monday morning.
Somehow, amid this commercialism, NCAA boss Myles Brand still professes that Division I college sports aren't a business. Well, he's wrong. And some suggest he'd be better off accepting reality.
"The statement that college basketball isn't a business -- let's be real here,'' Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said. "It can be a business that can be a very positive experience for athletes, coaches, for schools. Kids learn responsibility, coaches learn how to put together a team, and administrators learn how to build some momentum, build a lot of school spirit based on that one entity -- the program. It doesn't have to be a dirty word, something sleazy to say it is a business.''
Attorneys leave law firms every day, right? So the buzz in the college sports crowd isn't that Rich Hilliard departed a prominent Indianapolis firm -- Ice Miller Donadio & Ryan Collegiate Sports Practice Group -- but why he's out and whether it's related to lawsuits recently brought against him and the firm as a result of representing the Alabama and Marshall football programs in NCAA matters.
Hilliard, a former NCAA investigator, joined the law firm as a partner five years ago and specialized in defending athletic programs in infractions cases. The Alabama case was initially a huge get for the Indy firm, though two former Tide coaches have since filed suits claiming they were unfairly made to be scapegoats and named, among others, Hilliard and the law firm. A similar claim was made in a suit brought last August by Dave Ridpath, the former assistant AD for compliance at Marshall.
A federal judge's ruling last month allows Ridpath to move forward with claims of fraud, breach of contract and due process rights -- which also frees his attorneys to begin subpoenaing documents and deposing Marshall administrators and coaches, along with Hilliard. A trial date is tentatively set for May 2005.
"Well, on its face it certainly doesn't hurt our case,'' said attorney Jason Huber of Hilliard's departure. "We'll ultimately learn why he left.''
Hilliard described his move as a "mutual departure'' based on a desire to spend more time with his family in Kansas City, where he'd been based prior to the NCAA's move to Indianapolis.
Phil Genetos, the firm's managing partner, cited standard policy in refusing to comment on whether Hilliard's departure last month was voluntary. He said the firm would continue to be a player in the sports business [the Indianapolis Motor Speedway remains a primo client] while, as might be expected, predicting it'll prevail in the lawsuits.
"I think even universities get sued by people when they don't think there's really any basis for being sued,'' Genetos said of the potential fallout from the suits. "We don't like being sued, but I think people understand it."
Mike Fish is a senior writer for SI.com.