Feb. 25, 2021
Presenters: Doug Gillin, Pierre Banks, Makini Thompson
Related accountability review points:
- Athletics immediately draft and institute action plans that focus on education, retention, and mentorship in order to end the exploitation of Black student-athletes.
- Athletics hire more coaches, faculty, staff, trainers, and administration of color.
Summary of presentation:
- Gillin reported that the Athletics Department uses a 12–18 month operations plan, instead of a traditional strategic plan, so they can more quickly respond to the changing needs of the university and student-athletes. He said the department has created opportunities, particularly recently, to hear directly from student-athletes — citing the Real Talk forums in which students speak and administrators listen.
- As a result of the Real Talk forums, referenced by Gillin, the staff created the Bridge Builders Mentoring Program, which pairs a student-athlete with an alumnus, faculty or staff member, or community member.
- Athletics is collaborating with the App State Alumni Association on an alumni-specific mentoring program, and with the Career Development Center to create a series of athlete-specific events, including Career Meetups and a Pro Day career fair and networking opportunity.
- A career coach in Career Development provides weekly office hours specifically for student-athletes.
- The department created a Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the first priority has been to amplify underrepresented voices. For example, they created the Black and Gold Tribune to share stories of their student-athletes.
- The department implemented the Real Response communication platform in response to requests from student-athletes for an option to anonymously share concerns with athletics staff.
- Gillin concluded the presentation by sharing notable statistics and superlatives:
- The percentage of underrepresented App State Athletics staff members has increased from 8.6% in 2015 to 18.3% in 2020.
- 36% of App State student-athletes are from underrepresented populations, which is consistent with the NCAA Division I average, which Gillin said was in the “mid-thirties.”
- 25% of App State student-athletes are Black or African American, as compared to an average of 16% of NCAA Division I athletes.
- App State is the only athletic department in the Sun Belt Conference with a black senior women’s administrator, and the department continues to ensure every search committee has minority representation.