NCAA Taps Athletics Director to Serve on Committee
In hopes of giving diversity more than lip service, the NCAA Office for Diversity and Inclusion has assembled a group of approximately 40 athletics administrators, coaches and representatives of coaching organizations, including Wittenberg Director of Athletics and Recreation Garnett Purnell, to examine diversity issues within the membership.
NCAA Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Charlotte Westerhaus will chair the group, called the NCAA Diversity Leadership Strategic Planning Committee. Andy Geiger, former Director of Athletics at The Ohio State University, was named as vice chair.
While two NCAA committees, the Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee and the Committee on Women’s Athletics, already deal with diversity-related issues, it is hoped that this new, larger group will break new ground while collaborating with those existing bodies. Created in late 2005, the committee met for the first time at the NCAA Convention earlier this year in Indianapolis.
The mandate from NCAA President Myles Brand is clear. “Give us clear instructions and real ideas, not rhetoric,” he told the NCAA News. “Your recommendations will be taken seriously.”
The committee has three more in-person meetings scheduled before delivery of a final report at the 2007 NCAA Convention. The committee members will focus primarily on fostering diversity among student-athletes; promoting a climate of inclusion within intercollegiate athletics; enhancing equitable career opportunities for under-represented coaches, officials and administrators; and strengthening the support, integration and promotion of women’s sports.