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 month 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.”
Westerhaus and Geiger will meet individually with conference commissioners, athletics directors and coaches in the coming months to assess the most critical needs and ways to address them.
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
• 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.
Members represent all three divisions of the NCAA and various levels of athletics administration. Several coaches also were selected, particularly in football and basketball, sports in which there is a high concentration of racial and ethnic diversity. The group also includes student-athletes, women and individuals of color.
"It is an honor to be named to such an important NCAA committee,”
Purnell said. “With the diversity and expertise this new committee has,
we should be able to meet the charge given to us by NCAA President Myles Brand."
- Ryan Maurer
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