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WASHINGTON WATCH: Poor Treatment Of Black Coaches At The College Level (VIDEO)

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that college football is a damn big business. Just the 15 highest-grossing schools brought in a billion dollars in 2010. At many big football schools, the head coach makes more than a million dollars. In fact, some make as much as 5 million — and, clearly, more than the president of the university.

So, the pressure on college coaches to win is enormous. In most cases, if the coach fails to have a winning program in three years, he’s out. Fired. Gone. Unless you’re Jon Embree at the University of Colorado, who was fired after two years.

Now, Embree did have a pretty bad record in the first two seasons, but he inherited a sorry program that had five, consecutive losing seasons before he arrived; and the coach before Embree got a full five years before he got fired. In fact, that coach, who was white — they actually renegotiated his contract after a couple of losing seasons. And, of course, Embree is black.

Floyd Keith the executive director of the Black Coaches and Administrators Association joined Roland Martin from Indianapolis, Indiana, to talk about the treatment of black coaches at the college level

 

MR. MARTIN: Welcome back.

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that college football is a damn big business. Just the 15 highest-grossing schools brought in a billion dollars in 2010. At many big football schools, the head coach makes more than a million dollars. In fact, some make as much as 5 million – and, clearly, more than the president of the university.

So, the pressure on college coaches to win is enormous. In most cases, if the coach fails to have a winning program in three years, he’s out. Fired. Gone. Unless you’re Jon Embree at the University of Colorado, who was fired after two years.

Now, Embree did have a pretty bad record in the first two seasons, but he inherited a sorry program that had five, consecutive losing seasons before he arrived; and the coach before Embree got a full five years before he got fired. In fact, that coach, who was white – they actually renegotiated his contract after a couple of losing seasons. And, of course, Embree is black.

Joining us from Indianapolis, Indiana, to talk about the treatment of black coaches at the college level is the executive director of the Black Coaches and Administrators Association, Floyd Keith.

Floyd, welcome to the show.

MR. FLOYD KEITH: Thank you, Roland. It’s a pleasure to be with you.

MR. MARTIN: Since 1979, we’ve seen 41 black coaches hired to be head coaches, and only one has been rehired after losing a previous job. That was Ty Willingham, of course, when he was fired from Notre Dame and got hired at Washington.

Jon Embree made it clear in his news conference if you’re a black coach, you don’t get second chances.

MR. KEITH: Well, you know, Roland, actually, the number is 46. And when Ty Willingham was let go at Notre Dame, which was a very controversial firing as well, he went to Washington and was able to have a[n] extended career there. We’ve had one gentleman by the name of Tony Samuel who was at New Mexico State and lost his job there and then was hired at an FCS school, Southeast Missouri. And Turner Gill just recently was at Kansas, but was hired by Liberty. But as far as a[n] FBS return for the coach of color, that’s only happened once in history.

And so when we look at the perspective – and we have to understand Jon’s plight, [which] is he’s looking down the barrel of “where am I going to go?” and after two years of putting his heart and soul into a program where he was an alumnus of that institution, and they had taken that team to a national championship when he played in the ’80s. So, I really believe – and – and as we’ve gone forward with this story in the last three days – and I’ve talked to people all across this country –

MR. MARTIN: Right.

MR. KEITH: — white and black – that question the administration in regards to what could they have been thinking.

MR. MARTIN: Should there be a Rooney Rule in college football? In the NFL, that actually was a rule that was created that mandated, when it came to executive hires, such as a head coach, or even for a general manager, that a minority candidate had to be interviewed. Should there be one in college football?

MR. KEITH: I’ve tried to promote this through the NCAA. It gets blocked at that point, because institutions hire. The Rooney Rule worked in the NFL. Currently, there’re six out of 32 coaches of – that are in place. It also is part of the administration as well for general managers. So, I certainly think anything that promotes inclusion and diversity is a good thing.

MR. MARTIN: Well, Floyd, I say, man, look. Keep it up. Keep pressing, and we’ll certainly support your efforts to ensure fairness and equity when it comes to black coaches and others when it comes to getting these prestigious jobs, because we shouldn’t be getting the bottom-of-the-barrel jobs that, frankly, require Jesus to perform a Lazarus-like experience to revive them.

MR. KEITH: Roland, our coaches on the sidelines should represent the perce- — the – the numbers of representation that we have on the court or on the field. That’s –

MR. MARTIN: All right.

MR. KEITH: — what we should demand.

MR. MARTIN: Floyd, thanks a bunch. You take care.

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