07 23 2014
  11:32 pm  
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- NCAA president Myles Brand lobbied Saturday for equality on campuses for women and minorities, and also tried to prepare the association for the coming punishment for teams failing to meet academic standards.
Brand said resistance -- both open and secretive -- remains to giving female athletes more grants or jobs coaching women's sports and as athletic directors. He again called the lack of Black head football coaches an "embarrassment'' to college athletics.
"Proof of change is in the actual appointments to these positions, and that has not yet occurred,'' Brand said.
The NCAA convention dove into action Saturday with business sessions and approved changes to the association's executive committee. Delegates upheld a ban on Division I coaches text messaging recruits, then Brand delivered his state of the association speech.
He reminded members the transition to the NCAA's graduation rates and academic progress will result in sanctions as soon as late spring. He also cautioned college presidents and officials against the pressures to win at all costs.
But this convention has had a heavy focus on diversity in athletics and administration Friday, and Brand wrapped up his speech by returning to that topic to lobby for what he called social justice.
He pointed to opponents trying to stop full implementation of Title IX and roll it back if possible.
"It is simply incredulous that the talent pool is so weighted toward men to produce this imbalance. The facts, as well as the history of past lack of female representation, point to a continuing problem of injustice,'' he said.
Brand said immediate action is needed for Blacks and other minorities. The number of Black athletic directors in Division I is increasing, but he said not nearly at the rate it should considering the pool of available candidates.
The situation is even worse in the number of head football coaches, with Brand pointing to eight minority head coaches among 119 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision. He said the numbers are worse in the Football Championship Subdivision and Divisions II and III.
"If intercollegiate athletics is to play its key role in higher education of helping promote social justice, as it should, then all of us, the NCAA national office and the over 1,000 universities it represents must recognize the challenges and commit ourselves to meet them,'' he said.
Brand spoke a few miles from where Florida State played the Music City Bowl on Dec. 31 without many players suspended in an academic cheating scandal in a music history class last spring.
"Cheating and unsportsmanlike behavior should not be tolerated,'' Brand said. "Academic fraud violates the fundamental bond that links intercollegiate athletics to higher education and should be dealt with aggressively and harshly.''
With all the releases of graduation rates and academic progress numbers, Brand said they know 62 percent of Division I athletes graduate compared to 61 percent of non-athletes, and Division II graduates athletes at a rate 8 percent higher than the general student body.
But he warned some teams will not meet the new academic standards and sanctions will be coming with wrestling, baseball, football and men's basketball hardest hit.
"This is a challenging year in Division I for academic reform as the transition to the new requirements for academic achievement are put fully into place. Every team in every sport must make the grade,'' he said.

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