BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 19, 2021) - The Southeastern Conference has launched a new initiative aimed at encouraging, facilitating and assisting member institutions in attracting and hiring individuals in historically underrepresented groups in the leadership of their athletics departments.
The initiative was recently approved by the Conference's Presidents and Chancellors with the creation of a new conference bylaw that will help guide hiring practices at the member institutions within the Conference, particularly in the roles of athletics director, head coach, and senior woman administrator (SWA) and in positions that typically lead to employment in the positions of athletics director, head coach and SWA.
"The Southeastern Conference and its member institutions are committed to expanding the diversity of our athletics department leadership," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. "This bylaw implements measures to increase the inclusion of individuals from historically underrepresented groups in athletics leadership positions at our member institutions. It is important for the Conference and its member institutions to achieve measurable and sustained progress in increasing diversity and representation of historically underrepresented minority groups in coaching and other athletics positions consistent with the overall educational mission."
Under the new initiative, member institutions will employ intentional efforts to identify and consider candidates from historically underrepresented minority groups who may be outside the professional, social, and societal networks of those frequently making hiring decisions on behalf of the member institutions.
In order to further and ensure appropriate attention to the policies and goals set forth with this initiative, each member institution shall contact the Commissioner's office prior to commencing a search for candidates for the positions of athletics director, head coach, and SWA.
In addition, the Conference office will develop and implement an annual training and education program for the athletics directors and senior staff of member institutions concerning and addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion in athletics, such as best practices for improving diversity in hiring and retention of talent, advancing workplace equity and addressing implicit bias.
The Conference office will also create a leadership development program for individuals from historically underrepresented groups, specifically focused on providing participants with networking and mentoring opportunities and other developmental opportunities. This program will facilitate the creation of a larger pool of candidates to strengthen the pipeline for future leadership roles in the athletics department at the member institutions.
Each member institution will provide written certification to the Commissioner on an annual basis of its compliance with requirements of this bylaw.
The creation of this hiring principle is an outgrowth of the work of the SEC Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice, a league-wide body consisting of a diverse group of student-athletes, administrators and coaches tasked with identifying resources and outlining strategies aimed at ending racism and discrimination in intercollegiate athletics. Other Council activities have included the SEC Voter Education
and Participation Program and the Edward Aschoff Southeastern Conference Digital Communications internship.
For more information on the SEC Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice or other SEC equality efforts, visit www.SECSports.com/equality.