More minorities and women are running Major League Baseball and its teams, but the number of African-Americans playing the sport continues to drop, according to a University of Central Florida study.
MLB earned a B+ overall — an A for race and a B-minus for gender — in its annual report card on hiring practices issued by Richard Lapchick, director of UCF’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.
The report card noted that African-American players made up 8.5 percent of this season’s opening day rosters, a decline from 10 percent last season and the third-lowest percentage in decades.
“This has been a concern of MLB and leaders in the African-American community,” Lapchick said.
“However, MLB has made great strides with diversity in who runs the game and today is one of the best in sports,” he added. “There is clearly room for improvement, especially regarding hiring more women into professional positions.”
The only female president or CEO in MLB is Pam Gardner of the Houston Astros. No African-Americans are serving as team presidents or CEOs. Among the 55 senior executives in the league offices, 20 percent were minorities and 22 percent were women.
The number of team managers who are African-American dropped from four in 2010 to two this season. The number of Latino managers remained four.
Lapchick, who was inducted into the Multi-Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame this year, is known for his ability to use sport to combat racial, gender and social inequities in the United States and internationally.
The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport serves as a comprehensive resource for issues related to gender and race in amateur, collegiate and professional sports. The institute is part of the DeVos Sport Business Management Program in the College of Business Administration. The landmark program focuses on the business skills necessary for graduates to conduct successful careers in the rapidly changing and dynamic sports industry while also emphasizing diversity, community service and sport and social issues.