Oregon Legislation Requires That a Minority Candidate Be Interviewed for Head Coaching Jobs at State-Operated Universities

As the college football season is about to get under way, there are seven African-American head coaches at the 120 colleges and universities that make up Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Thus, blacks hold less than 6 percent of the head coaching jobs in major college football. In contrast, African Americans make up about 55 percent of the football players at these 120 schools.

In 2003, under a proposal pushed by Dan Rooney, CEO of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the National Football League began requiring teams with coaching vacancies to seek minority candidates and to interview at least one black or minority candidate before a head coach is hired. Since this so-called Rooney Rule was enacted, the number of black head coaches has increased significantly. No such Rooney Rule exists in college football.

At the University of Oregon the head coach stepped down at the end of last year and was immediately replaced by the offensive coordinator. Both men are white. As a result, the state of Oregon has passed a law requiring state-operated colleges and universities to interview a minority candidate for every open head coaching position. Similar legislation has been proposed in other states.