The makeup of college football is the reason for so few black coaches
College football has become a cultural event run by off-campus quasi boosters
Those people pulling the strings are the reason for a lack of black head coaches
After a string of current hires, the number of D-IA black coaches stands at seven
When you think about it, college football is really a strange duck. Things are just more different in college football than in our other major sports.
It's not only the bizarre system used to pick the two teams that play for the championship Thursday night ---- a playoff that isn't employed in any sport anywhere in the world. Consider, too, that only in college football do the teams in the playoff take off a month or more between the end of their regular season and the title game.
The attention devoted to the top individual award for college football far exceeds that of any other team sport. People start handicapping the Heisman Trophy winner as soon as the season starts. The so-called "Heisman Watch" is a weekly feature. But in college basketball do you hear talk about who the winner of the Wooden Award will be? Discussion about the MVPs in professional sports rarely peaks till near the end of the season. College football is different.
College football has so many more players ---- and coaches and subordinates of every stripe ---- than any other sport. Its finances dwarf all the others. It's also the only sport where a large number of athletes choose to become unhealthy in order to play. The number of obese players dwarfs those in every other sport, too.
And really, at the end of the day, college football is more cultural than athletic. Even as baseball became the national pastime, college football was becoming far more important on campus. Football, after all, correlates with the start of the school year. College is back; football is back. People don't think of college football games. They think of college football weekends. The alumni return to campus for homecoming ---- for football. So many college football programs now are, in effect, overseen by off-campus, quasi-official booster clubs.
This seems to be one of the reasons why college football alone awards so few head coaching jobs to African-Americans. In college basketball and in the major pro sports, black coaches are so common now, nobody much bothers to mention race when one is hired or fired now. But just a month ago, only three of the 119 Division-I-A football coaches were African-American ---- 2 1/2 percent, when it's estimated that at least half of all Division I-A players are black.
A veritable frenzy of minority hiring has raised the number of black coaches to seven ---- but it's invariably the lesser colleges that give blacks a chance. Auburn chose a white guy whose record was 5-19, instead of Turner Gill, an African-American, who had completely turned the University of Buffalo's program around. Of course, Gill's alma mater, Nebraska, had passed on him too.
In some countries, the second-most famous man in the land is the national soccer coach. That's also pretty analogous to the way it is in our colleges with football ---- only more so. The football coach is the face of the college, and a lot of boosters and alumni and athletic directors and presidents aren't ready to see a black man out in front of our football team ---- our place.
College football is different. Different even from the United States.