Jesse Jackson Wants Meeting With NCAA

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is seeking to meet with officials of the NCAA to discuss what he says is an “unacceptable” number of black head coaches in major college football.

With the recent firings of Bob Simmons from Oklahoma State and Jim Caldwell at Wake Forest, Division I-A football has only four black coaches out of the 115 total, or about 3.5 percent.

“This is unfair and it is unacceptable,” Jackson said Thursday. “College football thrives on the blood, sweat and tears of black players and there has to be opportunities beyond the playing field.

“Becoming a coach is a natural progression for many of these players and it is obvious from the way things stand now they don’t have a chance.”

Disproportionate Numbers

Jackson said he hopes to meet with NCAA Executive Director Cedric Dempsey prior to the National Collegiate Athletic Association annual conference next month.

Telephone calls late Thursday to NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis for comment on Jackson’s concerns were not immediately returned.

Jackson, in the past year, has also raised concerns about the lack of black coaches in the National Football League.

Though more than 65 percent of the league’s players are black, there are only three black head coaches — Minnesota’s Dennis Green, the NFL’s longest-tenured coach; Tampa Bay’s Tony Dungy and newly appointed interim Washington Redskins coach Terry Robiskie. Ray Rhodes and Art Shell are the only other blacks to head teams during the league’s modern era.

There are no black general managers.