SEC Announces Creation of Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice

by Ben Dornan 13

August 21st, 2020 College, News, SEC

The NCAA’s Southeastern Conference (SEC) has announced their creation on the Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice. The purpose of the council is to conduct research and compile resources for the conference’s use to promote diversity, equity, and justice.

The council will be made up of over 60 athletic directors, coaches, student-athletes, and equity personnel. Among those involved in the initiative are Neil Harper and Anthony Nesty, head coaches of the University of Arkansas, and University of Florida Swimming & Diving, respectively. Both representatives for swimming are former Olympic athletes, both at the 1988 Games and Nesty additionally at the 1984 Games. Nesty became the first Surinamese athlete to ever reach the Olympic podium at the 1988 Games when he out-touched Matt Biondi for 100 fly gold. Both coaches were born abroad – Nesty in Trinidad & Tobago, and Harper in England.

As the council’s swimming delegates, they represent 1 of 19 sports involved in the effort.

Of the council, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said “An important movement has been ignited around the equitable treatment of all underrepresented minorities, and the SEC is determined to be a leader in the pursuit of meaningful and lasting change,” he went on to add that “with the Council as our guide, we will develop an action agenda built on the foundation that all are created equal and ensure this truth echoes across our stadiums, our arenas, our campuses, our communities, our states, and our nation.”

The council has identified the following 5 priorities for this initiative;

  • Increasing Access and Representation for Underrepresented Minorities
  • Providing Enhanced Support for Underrepresented Minorities
  • Improving Education on Racial and Social Issues for All Stakeholders
  • Deepening Commitments to Local Communities
  • Raising Awareness of Racial Inequity and Social Injustice

The move by the SEC is similar to that of fellow Power 5 conferences, the Big Ten and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) which have each announced earlier in the year that they founded their own anti-racism initiatives. In June, the Big Ten created the Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition, and in July the ACC founded the Committee for Racial and Social Justice.

For more information and a full list of participating members of the SEC’s Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice, read the full press release below:

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (August 20, 2020) – The Southeastern Conference on Thursday announced creation of the SEC Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice, a league-wide body consisting of a diverse group of student-athletes,administrators, coaches and SEC staff.

The Council will identify resources, outline strategies and assist with implementation of efforts that, when taken together, will promote racial equity and social justice,while also fostering diversity, helping overcome racism and pursuing non-discrimination in intercollegiate athletics.

“An important movement has been ignited around the equitable treatment of all underrepresented minorities, and the SEC is determined to be a leader in the pursuit of meaningful and lasting change,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “With the Council as our guide, we will develop an action agenda built on the foundation that all are created equal and ensure this truth echoes across our stadiums, our arenas, our campuses, our communities, our states and our nation.”

Members of the Council include individuals from within the Conference’s existing student-athlete engagement program – a multi-faceted effort involving more than 60 student leaders in football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and all other SEC sponsored sports. Racial equity and social justice will be required discussions during all student-athlete leadership and advisory council meetings, while those groups’ chairs, vice chairs and/or other identified leaders will participate in Council meetings.

In addition, the Council will include administrative leaders from each campus and head coaches from each SEC sport (see full list below), who will regularly meet with SEC student-athletes to better understand and respond to their questions and concerns.

“Today’s youth are our leaders and change agents of tomorrow, and by listening, asking and seeking their insights and counsel, we have begun the shared journey toward racial equality,” said Sankey.

Alongside student-athletes, the SEC has used the past several weeks to gather and understand perspectives from a range of stakeholders across its 14 campuses, including presidents and chancellors, directors of athletics, senior woman administrators, faculty athletics representatives, various sport head coaches, mental health professionals and the SEC staff.

Those discussions helped create a framework for the Council, which will provide ongoing guidance to the SEC office and updates to Conference leaders at regular intervals. The Council will initially focus on the following five strategic areas:

  • Increasing Access and Representation for Underrepresented Minorities
  • Providing Enhanced Support for Underrepresented Minorities
  • Improving Education on Racial and Social Issues for All Stakeholders
  • Deepening Commitments to Local Communities
  • Raising Awareness of Racial Inequity and Social Injustice

Among other efforts, the Council will be tasked with identifying resources related to racial equity and social justice for educational and professional development programs for athletics department staff, coaches and student-athletes; outlining support mechanisms for underrepresented minorities within the athletics department; and identifying opportunities for the SEC to bolster ongoing university and athletics department diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. In addition, the Council will advise athletics departments and the Conference office on ways student-athletes, coaches and staff may fulfill their ongoing civic responsibilities in the electoral process.

Coupled with student-athlete participation, members of the SEC Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice include the following university administrators and head coaches.

University Administrators

  • University of Alabama – Dr. James King, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Culverhouse College of Business & Faculty Athletics Representative
  • University of Arkansas – Derita Ratcliffe,Deputy Director of Athletics & Senior Woman Administrator
  • Auburn University – Allen Greene, Director of Athletics
  • University of Florida – Dr. Chris Hass,Associate Provost for Academic & Faculty Affairs
  • University of Georgia – Darrice Griffin, Deputy Director of Athletics
  • University of Kentucky – Melissa Gleason, Executive Associate Director of Athletics & Chief Financial Officer
  • Louisiana State University – Dr. Dereck Rovaris, Vice Provost for Diversity & Chief Diversity Officer
  • University of Mississippi – Dr. Charlotte Fant Pegues, Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
  • Mississippi State University – Dr. Angel Brutus, Assistant Director of Athletics in Counseling and Sport Psychology Services
  • University of Missouri – Kamrhan Farwell, Vice Chancellor for Communications & Marketing
  • University of South Carolina – Julian Williams, Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • University of Tennessee – Tyvi Small, Vice Chancellor for Diversity & Engagement
  • Texas A&M University – Michael Thompson, Deputy Director of Athletics
  • Vanderbilt University – Dr. Candice Storey Lee, Director of Athletics

Head Coaches

  • Baseball – Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt University
  • Men’s Basketball – Cuonzo Martin, University of Missouri
  • Women’s Basketball – Dawn Staley, University of South Carolina
  • Equestrian -Meghan Boenig, University of Georgia
  • Football – Derek Mason, Vanderbilt University
  • Men’s Golf – Nick Clinard, Auburn University
  • Women’s Golf – Ginger Brown-Lemm, Mississippi State University
  • Gymnastics – Tim Garrison, University of Kentucky
  • Soccer – G. Guerrieri, Texas A&M University
  • Softball – Pat Murphy, University of Alabama
  • Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving
  • Neil Harper, University of Arkansas
  • Anthony Nesty, University of Florida
  • Men’s Tennis – Bryan Shelton, University of Florida
  • Women’s Tennis – Alison Ojeda, University of Tennessee
  • Men’s and Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country
  • Lonnie Greene, University of Kentucky
  • Connie Price-Smith, Ole Miss
  • Volleyball – Fran Flory, LSU

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Mental health
28 days ago

I think this is the beginning of something great in the athletic world!

Olympian
Reply to  Mental health
28 days ago

Why would people downvote a comment like that?? Or even better, why would people thing that having a council on racial equity is not a good thing??

Racism is the only reason that comes to mind.

Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  Olympian
28 days ago

Because many people are tired of being told what they think by others who do not know what they think. My comment will be construed as resist. I am very concerned that the “diversity officers” at universities are extreme leftist thinkers empowered by a false sentiment. We are all racist to a degree – sad but true. Bring on the down votes and angry comments.

Olympian
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
28 days ago

Oh boy… your argument about everyone being “racist to a degree” just killed my motivation of arguing. Just straight up sad you failed so miserably as a human being…

Maybe try and get a passport, travel the world, learn cultures, languages… not everything is limited to your basic notion of left and right.

Last edited 28 days ago by Olympian
Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  Olympian
28 days ago

Yes because we disagree, you revert to the default of an ignorant response, casting me as a failure of a human being. Wow you have amazing insight to judge me to harshly without knowing me, my heart or philosophy.

Olympian
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
28 days ago

Racism and racists will not be tolerated

Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  Olympian
28 days ago

I absolutely agree that small minded people should be offered grace. I agree that racism, pedophilia, murder, rape, rioting and defaming of others are highly egregious human elements and wish we could eliminate all of the dark thoughts and actions inherent in all societies worldwide.

Emma
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
27 days ago

To suggest that we are all racist to some degree is just not true. It is well studied that it is a learned behavior, and is suggested by most psychiatrists consider it. symptom of a psychiatric disorder (which tends to not get publicized b/c a majority of psychiatrists also do not want to medicalize it). In fact, it is likely a symptom of a paranoid disorder, among others. From a practical sense, the idea that the color of skin is the basis for judgement is probably either taught in the home, or by not being able to separate the impression that black is the same thing as coming from a poor/high crime/poorly educated neighborhood. While it is true that a… Read more »

Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  Emma
27 days ago

Racism exists when one becomes aware of one’s race. Was not aware anyone is so well read to state “a most psychiatrists consider it a symptom of a psychiatric disorder.” Have you really polled most psychiatrists?? Amazing gibberish.

Emma
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
26 days ago

Yeah, some people do read. It doesn’t actually take conducting the surveys yourself if you read objective research. It’s in a large number of research papers on the topic… try not googling for your own opinion, but generic terms… yeah, it requires a lot more reading and a lot more educating yourself. Perhaps if you try that you will realize then that racism is thinking less, or negatively, of someone based on the color of their skin. It is not racist to be aware, but it absolutely is racist to have a thought of some form of negativity b/c you are aware of someone else’s skin color. Saying “amazing gibberish” suggests you have zero reasoning to present since it doesn’t present an idea nor… Read more »

Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  Emma
24 days ago

Coo Coo – Coo Coo

Donald Gibb
28 days ago

Anthony was also the Bronze medalist in ‘92 100 Fly in Barcelona.
Even better man than he was an athlete!

Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  Donald Gibb
27 days ago

Nasty is THE MAN! Absolutely