Monday, January 05, 2009

"Robinson Rule" Followup

Apropos my post a few weeks ago on the dearth of Black coaches in NCAA football, the Sports Law Blog has a fascinating post delving into even more detail and giving some excellent context to the situation (via).

One interesting factoid was that, of the seven Black coaches in the NFL (out of 32 total positions), four of them were listed by players as among the top five coaches they'd like to play under (Tony Dungy (1st place); Lovie Smith (2nd place); Herm Edwards (4th place); and Mike Tomlin (5th place)). There are several ways to interpret this data, but my intuition would simply be that -- even in the NFL, which has made strides at diversifying its coaching ranks -- if Black coaches want to get and keep a position, they better rock peoples socks off. There is no room for average when you're African-American.


Andrew Selbst said...

I wonder if an alternative explanation, that the 70% black players might prefer to play (consciously or not) for black coaches, comes into play here too.

David Schraub said...

Or the corollary: Black coaches are more effective at coaching Black players (more likely to "get them", less likely to be racist, whatever).

Superdestroyer said...

The reverse logic probably shows why black coaches are less effective in college football than in college basketball. A black coach in basketball can win with an all black team in college. John Thompson at Georgetown showed that. However, it is almost impossible for a college football team to win with an all black team.

So, the question becomes is it easier for a white coach to recruit and retain black players or a black coach to recruit and retain white players.

David Schraub said...

Except ... except ... there's no proof Black coaches are less effective than Whites at college football!

Superdestroyer said...


I believe many schools hired black head basketball coaches in order to help recruitment. There are many black head basketball coaches and the same schools who are accused of racism in football will gladly hire a black head basketball coach.

I propose that one of the reasons for the difference between football and basketball is the ability to recruit white players.

Every white head football coach always has at least one black defensive coach and one black offensive coach in order to recruit blacks. But those same white head coaches have white assistant coaches to help recruit white players.

One of the problems in hiring a black head football coach so that the black players will feel comfortable is that it could make the white players feel uncomfortable. That situation does not show itself in basketball but definitely would have a bad affect in football.

On a side note, i think one of the reasons that Charlie Weis is having such problems at Notre Dame is that he has no clue how to handle 18 y/o football talent. In the pros, you can bench a player so go to your backup. In college, the players will quit the team and transfer instead of riding the bench three years behind someone else.