My Mind on Fire
African American Females in the Sports Industry

As participation in sports is important for all women it is as important for women of color. Research shows that involvement in sports and physical activities has a positive effect on the lives of girls. Very few would argue that young women of color are in need of the opportunities and encouragement that can arise from sports. An NCAA study proves that black female-student athletes in NCAA Division 1 are graduating at a higher rate than Black females in the general student body (59% to 42%).

Since 1972 and the passing of Title IX, female participation in sports and physical activities has increased 900%. Female athletes of color make up 26.2% of the female student population, yet they receive only 17.5% of the total female athletic opportunities. African American females seem to be concentrated in few sports, the two most popular sports being basketball and track (68% participation).

It would be interesting to explore why these two sports have been most popular among African American females. History plays its role, as well as the success of its participants, economics and sociology might also play a major role. However my interest in African American females in the sports industry isn’t currently in the athlete but rather the staff and those who represent the ‘behind the scenes’ happening. I myself am interested in athlete development on the collegiate level and professional athlete representation. The number of women in related positions is small, the number of women of color smaller. Does this mean that I have to work harder than anyone else pursuing jobs in these fields? Not necessarily. Not that I don’t plan on working hard, if I were a white man with 15 years of experience I would work as hard (my own shameful plug forgive me).

It seems as though women of color have little interest in these positions or most positions in the sports industry. Why is that? That question is one that I hope to answer through studies and research of the application rate for these types of jobs. 17% of college athletic directors are women, yet only 1.7% (15 out of 885) are women of color. One third of associate and assistant athletic directors are women, only 3.2% are women of color. 42.5% of coaches of women’s programs are women, only 4% are women of color.

What does all this mean? There are more men than women coaching women sports and very little women of color. Obviously you must be thinking well this is not a reflection of the athletes.

According to the chairman of the Black Sports Agents Association, there are about 30 women out of 1,000 agents registered. That number, already small, shrinks even smaller if you are taking into consideration how many of those women are actually representing a professional athlete. The success rate of Black sports agents depends on athletes wanting them representing them and the agent herself (there must be a number of reasons why she believes she would be the perfect or imperfect agent for the athlete).

The numbers don’t make sense and you think they would be higher. I hope to find out why they are the way they are and maybe through my career and find ways to make them higher :-)

    1. 4 notesTimestamp: Tuesday 2011/06/21 23:35:58sportsafrican americanfemaletitle 9title IXwomen in sportswomen
    1. unlessjess posted this