John Thompson III

John Thompson III
Associated Press

Minority coaches push for NCAA to adopt a Rooney Rule

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A group representing minority coaches is pushing the NCAA to adopt a rule that would require member institutions to interview a candidate of color for all head coaching and leadership vacancies.

The National Association for Coaching Equity and Development is joining longtime equality crusader Richard Lapchick in lobbying for an “Eddie Robinson Rule,” which would be college athletics’ version of the NFL’s Rooney Rule.

The group says such a rule would “address the negligent hiring practices which consistently exclude racial and ethnic minority coaches and administrators from positions of leadership in intercollegiate athletics.”

“It’s not about supply anymore,” Merritt Norvell, NAFCED’s executive director, said Friday. “There are plenty of qualified racial and ethnic minority coaches. It’s about the hiring process, which has historically and systematically excluded minority coaches by denying them an opportunity to compete in the process.”

NAFCED was formed last year to combat the dwindling numbers of minority coaches in college sports after the once powerful Black Coaches Association faded. Prominent members include Texas Tech basketball coach Tubby Smith, Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III and Texas coach Shaka Smart.

Lapchick’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida released an annual study before the college football season that reported 87.5 percent of the 128 head football coaches in the NCAA’s Bowl Subdivision were white. That includes all four teams that made it to the playoff – Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Michigan State.

Further, nearly 80 percent of college presidents and athletic directors at FBS schools are white males.

Lapchick has long advocated that the NCAA adopt a rule similar to the NFL, and he named it after Robinson, the revered coach at Grambling State who died in 2007. He called the endorsement from NAFCED “an enormous boost” that he hopes will help the proposal gain traction.

“I think what has been lacking is a forceful group of prominent sports leaders backing this,” Lapchick said. “This is such a group. In the absence of the BCA, this organization has the potential to have an impact on their own campuses as well as the NCAA.”

Norvell said NAFCED leaders plan to meet with NCAA leadership and conference commissioners in coming months.

“I do think for the health of the game we need diversity on the sideline,” former Georgia Tech and George Mason coach Paul Hewitt said. “It’s vitally important. We’re going through a very critical stage here and we need a lot of different ideas, a lot of different thoughts, a lot of different perspectives so we can arrive at the best place for the game and the kids who play the game.”

The biggest question will be whether the NCAA, or any other governing body, can enforce the rules on such a wide swath of public and private institutions. In 2009, Oregon passed a law that requires all of its public universities to interview minority candidates for coaching positions, but the law does not penalize schools that do not follow the rules.

Norvell said NAFCED, which is partnering with the National Consortium for Academics and Sports and The No Hate Zone in pushing for an Eddie Robinson Rule, said the public pressure that could be generated from such a measure would help schools adhere to the rule. Lapchick said he thinks legislative action would be more compelling than any perceived punishment that the NCAA could hand out.

“Having Congress rattling the sword as a result of this announcement by NAFCED would be an additional vehicle that would make the possibility of the NCAA moving more likely,” Lapchick said. “But I think this is the first step. Bringing Congress in to act would be a positive second step.”

Illness to sideline Georgetown’s Campbell next two games

Tre Campbell
Associated Press
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Already possessing limited numbers in their guard rotation, Georgetown will head north to New York City for the 2K Classic without one of their contributors.

Sophomore guard Tre Campbell will miss the Hoyas’ two games at Madison Square Garden due to illness, with head coach John Thompson III announcing Campbell won’t be making the trip Thursday afternoon. Georgetown, which fell to 0-2 on the season Tuesday night with a close loss at No. 3 Maryland, has played its first two games of the season without forward Paul White due to a hip injury.

Campbell’s absence means that Georgetown will have two scholarship guards available when they take on Wisconsin Friday and then either Duke or VCU on Sunday, with those players being senior D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and sophomore L.J. Peak. With Campbell (21.5 mpg) available those two still saw a lot of playing time against Radford and Maryland, with Peak averaging 34.5 minutes per game and Smith-Rivera at 34.0 mpg (and that’s factoring in his foul trouble Tuesday night).

Long-time Georgetown fan becomes program’s first 2017 commitment

Under Armour
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While it does occur, a recruit committing to a school before they’ve begun their junior year of high school isn’t something that happens all too often. However that occurred Wednesday evening, as 6-foot-5 shooting guard Tyler Foster verbally committed to Georgetown. News of Foster’s commitment was first reported by ESPN.com.

Foster also considered VCU and was on the receiving of interest from programs such a Dayton, UNLV and St. John’s, but the Gilman School (Baltimore) student made the decision to become a Hoya rather quickly. As his father told the Baltimore Sun, Foster’s long been a fan of the Georgetown program and that impacted his decision.

“He always loved Georgetown,” said Robert Foster, a former Dunbar star. “He’s been a big Georgetown fan, a big Allen Iverson fan, so naturally he gravitated toward Georgetown early on. It was too good to be true for him. That’s really why he’s getting it done so early.”

Foster is Georgetown’s first commitment in the Class of 2017, and for John Thompson III to have a commit from an area that annually produces quality talent doesn’t hurt at all. After playing well as a sophomore Foster’s carried that over into the spring for the Bmore’s Finest program (16U team) on the Under Armour Association circuit, averaging 14.0 points and 4.5 rebounds rebounds per game.

With there still being two years before Foster enrolls at Georgetown, it remains to be seen who his teammates will be. Outside of D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera the Hoyas don’t have a scholarship upperclassman on the perimeter, meaning that the likes of Tre Campbell and L.J. Peak (both sophomores) and Kaleb Johnson (incoming freshman) could be on The Hilltop when Foster enrolls in 2017.