Arizona State University Study Shows NFL’s Rooney Rule Has Been Ineffective

A new study by scholars at the Global Sport Institute at Arizona State University shows the dismal record of hiring Black head coaches in the National Football League — a league in which three-quarters of the players are Black.

In 2003, the NFL adopted the Rooney Rule, named after the late Dan Rooney, former owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Rooney Rule requires NFL franchises to interview minority candidates for senior football operations and head coaching positions.

But the current research shows that the Rooney Rule has made little or no impact on the number of Black coaches in the league. There are currently three Black head coaches in the NFL: the newly hired David Culley of the Houston Texans, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin, and the Miami Dolphins’ Brian Flores. That’s the same number of Black head coaches as when the NFL adopted the Rooney Rule in 2003.

The data shows that of the 115 head coaching hires in that time period since the Rooney Rule was enacted, 92 were White men. There were three seasons when no head coaches of color were hired.

This past January, one Black man, one Arab-American man, and five White men were hired for the seven open head coach positions. “By any standard, the hiring this season in the NFL has been abysmal,” said Ken Shropshire, the Adidas Distinguished Professor of Global Sport and the CEO of the Global Sport Institute.

Professor Shropshire is a graduate of Stanford University, where he majored in economics. He holds a law degree from Columbia University.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Michael says:

    This so-called STUDY conducted by the Global Sport Institute at Arizona State University Did Not reveal what is visually evident within the ranks of the NFL. When you have White head coaches who hire their highly Unqualified family members in various staff positions along with the White male owners saying Nothing. Therefore, how do you expect for highly Qualified Black Americans to get hired based upon pure merits. Further, the Rooney Rule is nothing but another tactic the White male owners can “check the box” and say “we interviewed a Black prospective candidate” even though they already know the White male they’re hiring. Talk about hypocrisy of the highest order.

  2. Ewart Archer says:

    Our community pays far too much attention to flashy, high-visibility jobs like head coaching positions.

    How about crawling before you walk, and walking before you run? Gain control of second- and third-tier positions before you start counting how many head coaches you have.

    Right now, there are still very few coaching assistants, defensive and offensive coordinators who are black. We should be focusing there for now.

  3. Michael says:

    For the record ewart (lower case “e” intentional), you’re not qualified to speak for the native born Black American community in any capacity. Your subservient comment is pepperred with a sharecroppers mentality. Time to cast down your veil of ignorance before you continue hurting yourself.

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