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FOR USE AS DESIRED
NFL CLUBS TO IMPLEMENT COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAM
TO PROMOTE DIVERSITY IN HIRING
NFL clubs will implement a comprehensive program to promote diversity in their coaching and front office ranks based upon recommendations of the NFL Committee on Workplace Diversity, the NFL announced today.
The Committee, appointed by NFL Commissioner Tagliabue on October 31, reviewed its recommendations in a series of conference calls with owners on December 19 and 20.
The Committee’s recommendations include:
A commitment to interview minority head coaching candidates
Establishment of a coordinator/assistant head coach career data bank
Expanded training and development programs
Earlier this week, the Committee recommended that the League’s Anti-Tampering Policy be modified to permit assistant coaches on playoff teams to be interviewed for head coaching opportunities before their teams are eliminated from the playoffs. That recommendation, endorsed by the League’s Competition Committee, has been approved.
The NFL Committee on Workplace Diversity is chaired by Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney and includes four other NFL owners – Arthur Blank of the Atlanta Falcons, Pat Bowlen of the Denver Broncos, Stan Kroenke of the St. Louis Rams, and Jeff Lurie of the Philadelphia Eagles. The committee is supported by a working group of club football executives comprised of Atlanta’s Ray Anderson, the New York Jets’ Terry Bradway, Tampa Bay’s Rich McKay, Baltimore’s Ozzie Newsome, and Indianapolis’ Bill Polian.
On the December 19-20 conference calls, the owners strongly agreed on the principle that any club seeking to hire a head coach will interview one or more minority applicants for the position. The one exception occurs when a club has made a prior contractual commitment to promote a member of its own staff and no additional interviewing takes place (e.g. Mike Martz and the St. Louis Rams in 2000).
The amendment to the Anti-Tampering Policy will apply in the upcoming playoffs. It permits a club with an open head coaching position to request permission to conduct one interview with an assistant coach employed by a playoff team when that club has a playoff bye or has a Wild Card playoff game. All such interviews would have to occur at a time and place convenient to the current employer and would have to be completed prior to the start of the Divisional Playoffs.
This change in the interview process has the potential to expand opportunities for top NFL assistants, including minorities, on playoff teams to obtain head coaching positions.
The Diversity Committee and its working group also compiled a detailed career information book on a large number of prospective head coaching candidates, i.e. all current coordinators and assistant head coaches plus their key references. This information will supplement the program of videotape interviews of high potential assistant coaches that was initiated five years ago to support the head coach hiring process.
In the area of training and development, the committee will launch a pilot program in 2003 for coaches with a leading business school in conjunction with the NFL coaching symposium held each May at the league’s spring owners meeting. The program will focus on coaching preparation. The committee then will consider expanding the program to other locations and including front office careers as well as coaching.
On a longer-term basis, the committee emphasized the importance of more effectively addressing career development and diversity in all front office positions, both in football and business operations. The membership will evaluate an expanded program of training and development for club employees to assist in identifying and developing front office personnel and coaches with high potential. These employees would be given the opportunity for advanced, specialized training in a wide range of areas.
The membership also expressed strong support for an expanded program of internships at both the coaching and front office levels, as well as NFL Europe, as a way of enhancing opportunities for women and minorities interested in a career in football.
“Our initial focus has been on the head coaching position,” the committee said in its memo to club owners. “We have had numerous meetings and held discussions with a wide range of people, including club owners and executives, current and former players and coaches, and knowledgeable people outside the NFL. Overall our goal has been to assist clubs in approaching the hiring process in ways that will lead to better decisions and enhance opportunities for well-qualified coaches.”
The committee and working group will continue to meet over the next several months and will report to all clubs at the NFL Annual Meeting March 23-27 in Phoenix.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NFL ISSUES GUIDELINES FOR INTERVIEWING
OF HEAD COACHING CANDIDATES
To assist clubs in implementing the NFL policy on equal employment and diversity, the NFL Committee on Workplace Diversity has issued a set of interviewing guidelines for any club hiring a head coach.
The Committee last December recommended that “all NFL clubs hiring head coaches interview, as one element of the hiring process, one or more minority applicants for that position.” In subsequent conference calls last December with owners and senior club executives, and at the NFL Meeting last March, the committee reviewed that policy, and it received broad acceptance from the member clubs.
The only exception to this requirement is where a team has a pre-existing contractual commitment with a member of its coaching staff to make him the head coach and this agreement was on file with the league at the time it was entered into.
The committee’s interviewing guidelines are as follows:
“First, prior to beginning the interview process, a club should prepare a job description that clearly and fully defines the role of its head coach and the qualities it is looking for in its head coach. Such basic questions as the extent of authority, reporting relationships to the owner and other club executives, responsibility for player personnel and salary cap management, and supervisory duties relating to other club staff need to and should be addressed before interviews begin. As the interviewing process proceeds, it may be appropriate to modify the job description.
“Second, prior to beginning the interview process, clubs should prepare a ‘search timeline’ that sets forth key decisions and dates leading up to the hiring of a head coach. The key decisions include the assembling of the applicant pool, the review of resumes/references/videotape interviews, the ‘winnowing’ to a final slate of candidates to be interviewed, and the target date for completing the search. This timeline should be prepared with reference to key NFL (and college football) dates, such as the regular season and playoff schedule, and the application of the anti-tampering rules.
“Third, as part of the search process, clubs should make certain that they identify a deep and diverse – by many different criteria -- pool of head coaching candidates. As part of this effort, clubs should be sure that they are knowledgeable about potential minority candidates for the head coaching vacancy both within and outside their own organization. The League Office can provide this information, and consideration should normally be given at the outset to using the League as a resource for helping to identify qualified minority and nonminority candidates.
“Fourth, the Committee strongly believes that direct involvement in the interviewing and selection process by a club’s principal owner is very important. To supplement the efforts of senior club executives, we strongly urge owners to personally contact candidates and extend invitations to interview for a club’s head coaching position. (While many candidates will be represented by agents, extending an invitation – as opposed to negotiating substantive employment terms – need not be done through an agent.) Owner involvement will motivate candidates to accept invitations to interview, because where owners personally extend invitations, the likelihood that candidates will perceive themselves as having a serious opportunity for a job will be enhanced, and the prospect that candidates will decline an invitation to interview will correspondingly decline.
“Fifth, requests for permission to interview must be made and documented in accordance with the Anti-Tampering Policy.
“Sixth, invitations to interview – whether accepted or declined – should be documented directly by the club in a letter to the candidate.
“Seventh, telephone interviews are never preferable and seldom adequate. Instead, interviews should be conducted in person, and it is the Committee’s expectation that those in-person interviews will include at least one minority applicant.
“Eighth, it is not necessary that the same person interview each applicant. For many reasons, different persons may conduct interviews in at least some cases. Nonetheless, insofar as possible, the same person or persons should interview all of the finalists, and an interview with the club’s principal owner is preferred in all cases.
“Ninth, candidates who are invited to interview for open positions should do so. Any widespread refusal to interview or an effort to discourage or put unreasonable conditions on interviews should promptly be brought to the attention of the Commissioner or his senior staff. Clubs should not accept a refusal to interview that is conveyed by an agent, but should obtain direct confirmation from the coach that he has decided to decline the invitation to interview.
“Finally, for a range of reasons, we strongly question the value of head coaching changes during the season. However, if a coaching change is made during the season, the club may name an interim coach from its existing coaching staff for the remainder of the season without going through a formal interviewing process. However, the club must follow the mandatory interviewing process in choosing a new permanent head coach, unless the club had concluded a prior contractual agreement with a member of its coaching staff to become the club’s head coach and this contractual agreement had been filed with the League Office at the time it was signed.
The Committee on Workplace Diversity is comprised of six representatives of NFL ownership -- Chairman Dan Rooney of Pittsburgh, Arthur Blank of Atlanta, Pat Bowlen of Denver, Stan Kroenke of St. Louis, Javier Loya of Houston, and Jeffrey Lurie of Philadelphia.
NFL clubs have access to an electronic database of profiles of every NFL coach and access to a library of videotape interviews of high-potential NFL assistant coaches. The NFL also issued to clubs the following timetable setting out key dates to assist clubs in planning their hiring process:
December 28 Regular Season Ends
Coaches whose season has
ended are free to discuss
employment if contract
Playoff coaches with 1st
round byes may interview
through January 2
January 3-4 Wild Card Games
Playoff coaches who won a
Wild Card game may interview
through January 9
January 10-11 Divisional Playoffs
No further interviews for playoff coaches
while their team is still participating
January 18 Conference Championships
February 1 Super Bowl
February 8 Pro Bowl
February 18-24 Combine
March 1 Clubs may deny permission
March 3 New League Year begins
Free Agency period begins
Commissioner Tagliabue has informed the clubs that “conduct inconsistent with procedural or substantive initiatives relating to equal employment opportunity may be treated as conduct detrimental” under the NFL Constitution and Bylaws and subject to discipline by the Commissioner. “Such conduct will subject the violating club and responsible executives to appropriate discipline,” he added. “Prior to any such finding being made or any discipline imposed, reasonable notice and an opportunity for the affected club or executive to have a hearing will be afforded.”
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MANDATORY INTERVIEW REQUIREMENT
EXTENDED TO SENIOR CLUB FOOTBALL POSITION
Commissioner ROGER GOODELL informed NFL clubs today that the mandatory interview requirements currently in place for the head coach position have been extended to the senior football operations position at each club, the NFL announced today.
This policy specifically requires clubs to interview at least one minority candidate as part of the hiring process for a club's senior football operations position, whether described as general manager, executive vice president of football operations, or otherwise.
Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman DAN ROONEY, who is chairman of the league's Workplace Diversity Committee, recommended the extension of the rule on behalf of the committee. The recommendation received strong endorsement from clubs during discussion at the league's spring meeting in Fort Lauderdale in May.
"The discussion at the league meeting identified the strong reasons for taking this step, which in large part simply confirms a recommended practice that clubs have voluntarily embraced," Commissioner Goodell said. "The recommendation also recognizes that this process has worked well in the context of head coaches, and that clubs have deservedly received considerable positive recognition for their efforts in this respect."
There are currently five African-American senior club football operations executives – ROD GRAVES (Arizona), MARTIN MAYHEW (Detroit), OZZIE NEWSOME (Baltimore), JERRY REESE (New York Giants) and RICK SMITH (Houston). Newsome and Smith are members of the league’s Competition Committee. The league’s senior football executive, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations RAY ANDERSON, is African-American.
The requirement will not apply in cases where the position is held or filled by the owner or a member of his family, or where a club has a pre-existing contractual commitment filed with the league office to promote a current member of its staff if the senior football operations position becomes vacant.
Although it is not required, Commissioner Goodell strongly urged clubs in today’s memo to interview a broad and diverse slate of candidates for a wide range of football operations roles, including scouting, player personnel, and contract and cap management positions. "The more thorough the search, the more likely clubs are to find the right candidates, and to be able to groom future leaders from within their organizations," the commissioner said.
The members of the NFL Workplace Diversity Committee are Dan Rooney (Pittsburgh), KATIE BLACKBURN (Cincinnati), ARTHUR BLANK (Atlanta), JAVIER LOYA (Houston), and JOHN MARA (New York Giants).
NFL Mandatory Interview
Requirements - a.k.a. "The Rooney