The NCAA’s West Coast Conference announced this week that it has officially adopted the “Russell Rule,” which is aimed at encouraging diversity in hiring.
The “Russell Rule” is named in honor of WCC and NBA legend Bill Russell and is the main part of a groundbreaking series of initiatives implemented under the “We are Committed to Change” platform.
The “Russell Rule” requires each member institution to include a member of a traditionally underrepresented community in the pool of final candidates for every athletic director, senior administrator, head coach and full-time assistant coach position in the athletic department.
According to a post on the NCAA’s website, the WCC has partnered with human rights activist Dr. Richard Lapchick, the founder and Director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES), to develop an annual race and gender report card on the demographics at each WCC institution and the Conference office.
“It is my hope the West Coast Conference initiative will encourage other leagues and schools to make similar commitments,” Russell stated. “We need to be intentional if we’re going to make real change for people of color in leadership positions in college athletics. I’m proud to assist the WCC and Commissioner Nevarez by endorsing this most important initiative.”
“The Russell Rule is the result of the groundbreaking work of the WCC Presidents’ Council and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee,” said Gloria Nevarez, the first Latinx Division I Commissioner. “Bill Russell is the greatest basketball player and social justice advocate the nation has seen. He is a champion for change. It is our belief the WCC ‘Russell Rule’ will live up to his legacy. Our goal is that the diversity of our student-athletes is reflected in those that lead and mentor them and provides a holistic and inclusive education during their time at WCC institutions."