Richard Lapchick is leaving one of his roles at the University of Central Florida to devote more time to supporting social-justice issues while working at the school.
A central figure in promoting diversity hiring in sports, Lapchick said he is stepping down as director of the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program at UCF but he will remain director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES). That organization annually produces report cards evaluating racial- and gender-hiring practices for professional sports leagues as well as college sports.
Lapchick, who is 76 and has been an endowed chair at the school since 2001, said the requests for presentations, new report cards and training programs have increased since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020.
“Continuing to do that was something that I really wanted to do,” Lapchick said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I’ve loved the DeVos sport business management graduate program and the contact with the students and the relationship with the students.
“But I figured, I’m 76. I’ve got a reduced, let’s say, time to make a contribution to fighting against racism, and I wanted to focus all my energies on it.”
Lapchick typically serves as lead author of the report cards issued annually by TIDES. The reports include evaluations for professional leagues including the NFL, NBA, WNBA, Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball. The reviews examine a range of positions including coaches, owners, general managers, front-office personnel and administrative staff at the league and team levels.
Report cards for college sports have looked at positions such as school presidents or chancellors, athletics directors, coaches, faculty athletics representatives and conference commissioners. They have also examined graduation rates along racial and gender lines.
TIDES issues numerical and letter grades while charting the hiring changes from one year to the next, highlighting positive gains as well as negative trends for improvement.
Lapchick — son of late college and NBA coach Joe Lapchick — has become a go-to voice raising awareness about equality issues in sports.
Kevin White, who retired as Duke’s athletics director earlier this year, describes Lapchick as “the ultimate game changer” in an email to the AP.
“Richard’s supreme (straightforward) interests have never been very complicated, for he has always stayed true to his nonnegotiable, impeccably moral and high integrity ‘compass,’” said White, who teaches a sports business course at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.
“Don’t want to endeavor to speak for Richard, however, I’ve long held the opinion that, simply speaking, he strongly believes that treating all others in the way you would like to be treated seriously underscores the golden rule.”