What is the Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge?

The Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge (CCDP) is an opt-in pledge by Division I athletics directors to include a diverse group of candidates in the finalist pool for head coach vacancies in men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and football

A “diverse pool” is defined as a group of finalists that includes at least one candidate from a diverse or traditionally underrepresented background and at least one candidate from a non-diverse background

The CCDP reflects a commitment to ensure equal opportunity in the hiring of coaches, and to address the barriers that have prevented full participation of underrepresented minority groups. 

How to Comply with the Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge

To maintain compliance with the Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge, athletic directors must have a finalist pool that includes at least one candidate from a traditionally underrepresented background and one non-diverse candidate. 

The interview process for all finalist candidates must be substantially equivalent. For example, if the eventually-hired coach received both a phone, neutral site, and campus interview, all unsuccessful finalist candidates must also have participated in the same process.


Caveats and Exceptions
  1. If an athletics director chooses to promote an internal candidate to head coach, they will remain compliant with the CCDP only if no external candidates were interviewed.
  2. If any external candidates are formally interviewed during the search process, the inclusion of internal candidates will not be considered sufficient for compliance with the CCDP.
  3. In certain situations, finalist candidates can remove themselves from candidacy before they complete the full interview process, thus preventing all finalists from experiencing an identical process. In these instances, the school could still be considered in compliance if they  demonstrate that the finalist pool would have met CCDP requirements before a finalist candidate withdrew.
  4. The CCDP does not create favoritism in the hiring process for any group of people. However, in order to avoid the appearance of conflict with laws in some states that prohibit affirmative action, athletic directors at institutions in these states may elect to comply with CCDP by including in their candidate pool at least one candidate from a traditionally underrepresented background and at least one non-diverse candidate, and maintaining a substantially equivalent interview process for all candidates initially included until one of those candidates is hired.
Oversight of the Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge

The Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge is overseen by an independent Board of Advocates that consists of highly respected individuals from higher education and sports. Assisting the Board of Advocates is the Board of Coaches, who is responsible for working directly with their peers in the coaching community to ensure compliance with the procedures of the pledge, acting as an advocate for the pledge, as well as helping evolve the pledge into other areas (such as the hiring of assistant coaches).

The Board of Advocates works directly with the Third-Party Clearinghouse (James Moore & Co.) to randomly select a meaningful percentage of hires each year to review in order to confirm CCDP compliance. 

The review process proceeds as follows:

1. After the majority of the hiring cycle for each sport is concluded (February for football and June for basketball), the third-party clearinghouse will randomly select a representative sample of the hires made in the previous hiring cycle for the review. 

2. The third-party clearinghouse will contact each athletics director and/or search firm to inform them of the review. The athletics director will describe the hiring process, and provide names and contact information of finalist candidates as necessary to demonstrate compliance with CCDP. This information is submitted confidentially through a secure web portal. Schools and/or search firms may also opt to enter into an agreement directly with James Moore & Co. to allow for a direct exchange of the confidential information that will satisfy the requirements of the compliance procedures outlined in the pledge.



3. The third-party clearinghouse confidentiality contacts the finalist candidates to verify their participation and the details of the hiring process. 

4. All information about each hiring process is kept confidential by the third-party clearinghouse, who operates under a strict non-disclosure agreement. 

5. The clearinghouse issues a report to the CCDP Board of Advocates that summarizes the outcome of all reviews in a year.

6. If a school is believed to be out of compliance with CCDP, members of the Board of Advocates ill contact the athletics director to discuss the situation further. 

7. If any disagreements or discrepancies arise, the Board of Advocates will review and decide whether CCDP compliance requirements were met. 

A list of all athletics directors who have signed the Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge can be found below. Once the first review cycle begins, any athletic directors found to be out-of-compliance with the pledge will be noted. Administrators interested in making the pledge may contact Jason@AthleticDirectorU.com for further details.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why does the CCDP require the inclusion of at least one candidate from a non-diverse background in addition to at least one candidate from a diverse background? 

In some states, laws explicitly prohibit any kind of policy in hiring that could be construed as affirmative action. The CCDP seeks to ensure that finalist pools for head coaching positions are diverse, and that candidates are not receiving differential treatment based on race. 

2. Why does the CCDP apply for only football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball?

We acknowledge that increasing leadership diversity in college athletics requires efforts that go beyond the sports of football, women’s basketball, and men’s basketball. We also acknowledge that the CCPD is not a complete solution to increasing coaching diversity in these three sports. However, we believe that the CCDP is a practical and meaningful step towards increasing opportunities for underrepresented coaches, and will prompt further action to diversify leadership in college athletics.

3. I’ve read reports that the Rooney Rule isn’t working that well. How will the CCDP be different? 

The CCPD’s review mechanism assures that all finalist candidates receive equal treatment in the hiring process. 

4. How can I be assured that candidate information will be kept confidential during the review process?

James Moore & Co and the Board of Advocates are working under a non-disclosure agreement that specifically prohibits the release of candidate names.

5. Will the names of finalist candidates be publicized?

No. Candidate information will be treated as strictly confidential by James Moore & Co, who are operating under a non-disclosure agreement. 

Additionally, athletics directors will be asked to provide finalist candidate names only if their search is part of the randomly selected sample percentage of hires for review after each hiring cycle. One of the names of the candidates who is submitted we always be the head coach who was hired at the conclusion of the search process.

6. What is the process for reconciling a potential disagreement between an unsuccessful candidate and the school about the interview process? 

Schools will be responsible for providing details that demonstrate the hiring process for all finalists was equitable. James Moore & Co and the Board of Advocates will review any potential disagreements. 

7. Is the CCDP a contract?

No.  Moreover, the CCDP does not, nor should it be construed to, create any individual rights or benefits or any third party beneficiaries.    

8. What is the CCDP’s definition of a candidate from a traditionally underrepresented background? 

A candidate from a traditionally underrepresented background is an individual of Black and African American descent; Asian Americans; Hispanic or Latino; Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders; and American Indian and Alaskan Native Americans as defined by the U.S. Census

9.  What happens if candidates withdraw during the final stages of the interview process?

If candidates withdraw from the finalist stage of the interview process, a school will remain in compliance if they can demonstrate that CCDP requirements would otherwise have been met.

10. What happens if a school hires a search firm to assist with the process?

Search firms play an important role in the identification, recruitment and hiring of coaching talent in college athletics. Whether or not a search firm is used, schools who sign the CCDP are expected to follow its protocols. Search firms will be allowed to submit candidate data on behalf of a school to the clearinghouse.  

11. Some research about organizational diversity says that changes in diversity hiring really start to occur when at least two candidates from underrepresented backgrounds are in the finalist pool. Why stop at just one in this case?

We recognize that some studies suggest that the probability of hiring a diverse candidate increases significantly when two or more diverse candidates are included in the finalist pool. We support increasing opportunities for candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. At the moment, we feel like the CCDP has the best chance for broad national adoption as it is currently outlined.