College athletics are moving through a challenging time. The increase in awareness of racial inequity has truly become a part of student-athlete activism at all levels. Coaches and teams are facing the opportunity to better understand the topic of racial injustice. No matter where you stand on the issue, as a coach, you are probably encountering new opportunities to talk about race and injustice with your teams and schools.
How do you address these issues? How do you know the right words to say? How can you engage your student athletes, coaches and administrators in having constructive conversations about racial injustice?
I have always said that athletics are the best education for opening hearts and minds about diversity, inclusion and racial inequities. Teams bring people together from many different backgrounds, ethnicities, race, religions, countries and cultures. Members of teams learn to work together, despite differences, to accomplish the common goal of winning.
I know the importance of understanding these differences, using language that matters, and, in doing so, helping student athletes, coaches and administrators learn to respect each other and work together.
I wanted to share one resource to help you address this issue and engage your teams and schools with an open dialogue about race. The intention is to bring about an understanding of differences and genuine respect for those differences in each other.
The NCAA has a department whose main job is to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in college athletics. Here is one resource, developed by the NCAA Office of Inclusion, which outlines some pointers to share with your student athletes, coaches and administrators.
Strategies: – NCAA Guidance on Inclusive Language.
Parents and coaches can work together to determine an athlete's level of play.
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