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Time for a Hail Mary? With Bleak Prospects of Being Aided by a College Version of the NFL's Rooney Rule, Should Minority College Football Coaches Turn Their Attention to Title VII Litigation?

Virginia Sports & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 8, pp. 147, 2008.

30 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2008 Last revised: 25 Feb 2009

Michael J. Nichols

University of Connecticut - School of Law; Lesley University

Abstract

Over the past several years member teams of both the National Football League ("NFL") and the National Collegiate Athletic Association ("NCAA") have been criticized for employing too few head football coaches who are minorities. The problem has gained attention as non-whites now comprise a majority of the players at both levels of competition. In 2003, the NFL instituted a rule - the Rooney Rule - that is widely credited with significant improvements in the number of minority coaches employed within the professional league. Over the same period, the college head coaching ranks remain almost entirely devoid of non-white head coaches. This note analyzes whether the NCAA is in a position to emulate the Rooney Rule despite opposition from athletic directors, university presidents, conference commissioners, and others. The author further examines whether an over-looked minority job candidate could successfully sue a university for discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - an avenue advocated by several of the interest groups responsible for convincing the NFL to adopt the Rooney Rule.

Keywords: Title VII, discrimination, employment, disparate treatment, disparate impact, sport, sports, football, african-american

JEL Classification: K10, L83, J71, L82, M50

Suggested Citation

Nichols, Michael J., Time for a Hail Mary? With Bleak Prospects of Being Aided by a College Version of the NFL's Rooney Rule, Should Minority College Football Coaches Turn Their Attention to Title VII Litigation?. Virginia Sports & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 8, pp. 147, 2008.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1287345

Michael J. Nichols (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut - School of Law ( email )

65 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
United States
860-301-5686 (Phone)

Lesley University ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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