Codey Introduces Resolution Urging Ncaa To Adopt ‘Rooney Rule’

Senate President Seeks Diversity in College Football Leadership Ranks

TRENTON – Senate President Richard J. Codey has introduced a resolution in the State Senate urging the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) to adopt the collegiate equivalent of the NFL’s “Rooney Rule” to help balance the inequalities that exist in the hiring of minorities as head football coaches.

“I don’t even need one hand to count the number of African American coaches in Division I-A football,” said Sen. Codey (D-Essex). “That’s a sad commentary, particularly when you consider that nearly 50 percent of players are African American. The NCAA would be wise to take a more aggressive approach to tackle this problem”

Late last month, Sen. Codey sent a letter to NCAA President Myles Brand, urging the organization to renew its commitment to finding innovative ways to broaden the diversity in the upper echelons of college football. Sen. Codey, who has been following the situation closely, said he was disturbed by statistics that show a striking imbalance between the number of minority players and coaches in the NCAA.

Sen. Codey noted that among the 117 NCAA Division I-A football teams, nearly 50 percent of players are African American, while there are only three African American coaches. In his letter, he urged the NCAA to consider adopting its own version of the “Rooney Rule” and called for a concerted approach at the grassroots level to achieve real change.

Named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, the NFL’s “Rooney Rule” requires teams with a head coaching vacancy to interview at least one minority candidate as part of the process to the fill the vacancy. The resolution notes that, “prior to the NFL’s implementation of the rule in 2003, minority head coaches comprised just 6 percent of the head coaching positions in the NFL, and at the start of the 2006 season that number had jumped to 22 percent.”

“There’s this huge pool of untapped talent that is virtually ignored,” said Sen. Codey. “I think teams could benefit tremendously from leadership that more adequately reflects the diversity of its ranks.”

Upon approval by the Senate, the resolution will be sent to each member of the governing body of the NCAA.

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