Increasing diversity

A new House Bill passed in May requires public universities to consider a minority candidate for vacant coaching and athletic director positions.

A new House Bill passed in May requires public universities to consider a minority candidate for vacant coaching and athletic director positions. House Bill 3118 does not stipulate gender diversity.

The Oregon Legislature Bill Tracker says HB 3118 “requires public institutions of higher education to interview qualified minority candidate when hiring head coach or athletic director unless … institution was unable to identify qualified minority candidate willing to interview for position.”

The driving force behind this bill is Portland State graduate Sam Sachs. Sachs graduated in 2007 with an undergraduate degree in Black Studies.

The bill was adopted after the 2003 Rooney Rule in the NFL. The bill does not state that the university committee must hire someone of a minority to a coaching position, but a minority candidate must be taken into account.

“Where people get the wrong opinion is that they’re trying to mandate hiring an African-American or a person of color, an ethnic minority, for every job. That is not what it is,” Sachs said to ESPN. “It is that a person is legitimately considered, and then you take it from there.”

Oregon has paved the way for other states to adopt this policy, and Sachs hopes someday the NCAA will institute the bill across the United States.

“I see this as a landmark in terms of a state making a decision to be proactive about this,” Sachs said.
HB 3118 encounters issues when one considers that every sport has its politics and people stand out in different sporting communities through their reputation and experience.

In a Vanguard survey of 20 people at the Beaverton Farmers’ Market, Downtown Portland and on campus, one said, “Some major colleges may already know who has developed a reputation and [who] would be a good candidate for a new coach.”

However, how does a university administration go about enforcing HB 3118 if no qualified minority candidate applies for the job? In this case, a waiver can be initiated if it is in the interest of the student-athletes to receive a coach in the quickest possible manner. This is a crucial addition to the bill.

In the Vanguard‘s survey, 100 percent of people had no idea what House Bill 3118 was, but after explanation, 18 out of 20 supported the bill.

The two people surveyed who disagreed stated that most sports already have a pool of candidates that have developed a great resume of coaching positions. Some sports lack diversity and one person surveyed mentioned a sport like swimming or cross country would take more time to find a minority coach.

The Vanguard also asked the people surveyed if they thought women should be considered as well for all coaching positions. Only eight out of 20 people thought gender was a necessary stipulation.

The people who were against including women in the bill stated that most people already agree a male should be considered as coach for a men’s sport.

However, many female athletes have developed a name for themselves in their respective sport and should be considered for hiring in a head coaching position.

Others thought if gender were listed in HB 3118 it would slow down the hiring process, and cited issues such as entering the locker room of athletes of the opposite gender.

Men’s basketball head coach Tyler Geving supports HB 3118 and said, “It gives people a chance to be considered that might have missed an opportunity in the past. This gives them an opportunity.”

Despite arguments for and against the bill, HB 3118 easily passed the House and the Senate and was signed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski on July 22. The bill will take effect Jan. 2, 2020.