The statistics revealed in a Sunday investigative report on race and staffing at NCAA Division I schools were attention grabbing.
In the story it was shown the percentage of minorities employed by university athletic departments nationwide is far below the percentage of athletes who are minorities.
Nationally, NCAA figures indicate minorities make up about 77 of 606 (19 percent) head coaches among men's and women's Division I basketball teams. For football, there are about 22 minority head coaches among 223 positions (10 percent).
Closer to home, West Virginia University statistics showed 115 of 292 scholarship-receiving athletes from all sports were minorities as of 1998, the most recent year for which statistics are available. In contrast to that 39 percent, there are six full-time, minority staff in the 105-member athletic department, or less than 6 percent, this year.
While racism is not necessarily the reason, or at least the sole reason, behind such national statistics, we believe they are indicative of a problem that pervades all Division I hiring.
We urge Division I universities to form panels to investigate this issue and what, if anything, each institution is doing to encourage or discourage minority athletic department applicants and hires. These panels could get anonymous input from current staff and athletes and, perhaps, applicants, allowing people to truly express their thoughts without fear of retribution.
Athletes like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Venus and Serena Williams have broken unbelievable ground for minorities. We're anxious to see more minority coaches, who have earned his or her job, serving as future Don Nehlens, Bobby Knights, Steve Spurriers or Joe Paternos.
Equality in a diverse culture is never easy to achieve. But lack of ease is no excuse to stop the pursuit of diversity.