Delta State University President William N. LaForge, a member of the NCAA Division II Presidents Council, became one of the first in the nation to sign the new NCAA Presidential Pledge.
LaForge was fully supportive of the diversity and inclusion initiative that commits schools to achieving ethnic and racial diversity and gender equity in college sports hiring practices.
The pledge was endorsed earlier this month by the highest governing body of each NCAA division and approved by the Board of Governors.
“I am pleased to sign this pledge that commits Delta State to achieving ethnic and racial diversity and gender equity in our college sports hiring practices,” said LaForge. “This is really a no-brainer for Delta State, because it’s a reaffirmation of what we’re already doing.
“I’m proud of our inclusive approach to our hiring processes across the board, especially in athletics. This is an important area for Delta State, and for me as president — but also because I’m serving as president of the Gulf South Conference and as a member of the NCAA Division II Presidents Council.”
Ronnie Mayers, Delta State’s director of athletics, echoed LaForge’s praise for the pledge.
“Fairness and equality are hallmarks of intercollegiate athletic competition, and I am proud to be part of an organization that upholds and protects these principles,” said Mayers.
The NCAA pledge states:
Consistent with our mission and values, our institution, a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, pledges to specifically commit to establishing initiatives for achieving ethnic and racial diversity, gender equity and inclusion, with a focus and emphasis on hiring practices in intercollegiate athletics, to reflect the diversity of our membership and our nation.
We recognize and value the experiences individuals from diverse backgrounds bring to intercollegiate athletics. To that end, we will strive to identify, recruit and interview individuals from diverse backgrounds in an effort to increase their representation and retention as commissioners, athletics directors, coaches and other leaders in athletics. As part of this commitment, we will also engage in a regular diversity, inclusion and equity review to inform campus policy and diversity initiatives.
We understand this to be a collective responsibility we owe to student-athletes, staff, our athletics programs and the entire campus community.
In the coming months, presidents and chancellors who have signed the pledge will receive a toolkit with best practices and other resources to assist their schools’ ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts.
To view all the institutions participating in the pledge, visit http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/inclusion/ncaa-presidential-pledge.