With all-white leadership, Gophers athletic department under fresh scrutiny to improve diversity

Even before the speculation about Pitino's future, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren had noticed how the university's president, Joan Gabel, athletic director Mark Coyle and all 19 head coaches are white.

But Maryland athletic director Damon Evans said it was important to bring in an expert in that role — Cynthia Edmunds, whom he hired this past fall — instead of adding titles and duties to an existing staff member.

Owens' day-to-day responsibilities with the Gophers involve overseeing baseball and rowing, running the Varsity M Club for alumni, preparing more than 660 college athletes for life after sports and heading the department's diversity and inclusion efforts.

Warren said he takes pride that of the 14 chancellors or presidents in the conference, three are people of color — Robert Jones (Illinois), Jonathan Holloway (Rutgers) and Darryll Pines (Maryland).

Dr. Richard E. Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, has long advocated for the NCAA to adopt the NFL's Rooney Rule, which ensures teams interview coaches of color.

In Lapchick's most recent study surveying FBS leadership of 130 schools, he found 17.7% of university presidents or chancellors were people of color, 16.9% of athletic directors and 16.2% of football coaches.

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