Despite More Black Head Coaches College Basketball Problems Remain

increase in Black college basketball head coaches this season
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Excuse me for not handing out high-fives over the increase in Black college basketball head coaches this season. Pardon my lack of excitement over more opportunities arising from the murder of George Floyd.

Let’s wait and see whether real equal opportunity has arrived.

As the season begins Tuesday, 34 of the 61 newly hired men’s Division I head coaches are Black. After taking replacements and firings into account, that means a net gain of 14 Black coaches. There are now 110 Black head coaches, up from 95 last season.

Wait, hold your applause — there are 358 coaches in men’s Division I basketball. Only 31% are Black, up from 27% last season. Meanwhile, more than half of the players are Black. And the higher you go in college basketball, in terms of quality and prestige of programs, the coaches get whiter and the rosters get Blacker.

Sure, the increase is a good sign, but it feels like the bank crediting money to your account out of nowhere — it could just disappear. Yes, it was encouraging to see Black excellence rewarded, from Ben Johnson at Minnesota to Isaac Brown at Wichita State, from Toyelle Wilson at SMU to the youngest Division I head coach in the country, 30-year-old Drew Valentine at Loyola Chicago.

But anybody who knows the difference between a timeout and a turnover understands this hiring spree was a reaction to the massive racial justice protests that followed Floyd’s death under the knee of a white cop.

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