Report: NFL's Vote on Rooney Rule Changes Is 'Going to Be Close'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2020

FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2020 file photo NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference in Miami. The NFL has set protocols for reopening team facilities and has told the 32 teams to have them in place by May 15. In a memo sent by Goodell and obtained Wednesday, May 6, 2020 by The Associated Press, several phases of the protocols were laid out. The first phase would involve a limited number of non-player personnel, initially 50 percent of the non-player employees (up to a total of 75) on any single day, being approved to be at the facility. But state or local regulations could require a lower number. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, file)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Voting on the proposed changes to the Rooney Rule, which will award teams better draft spots in Round 3 if they hire minority coaches or general managers, will reportedly be "close" among NFL owners.

Peter King of NBC Sports reported he is "unsure" of Commissioner Roger Goodell's enthusiasm for the change.

"This is going to be close. I can't call which way it'll go," a source told King.

Under the new proposal, which was first reported by NFL.com's Jim Trotter, a team that hires a minority general manager would move up 10 slots in the third round and six slots for hiring a minority head coach in the draft preceding their second season. It is possible that third-round selection could move up as many as 16 slots.

A team's fourth-round pick would move up five spots in the year preceding the minority hire's third season. In addition, teams that hire a minority quarterbacks coach would receive a compensatory fourth-round pick if they retain the coach for more than one season. Another compensatory change would see teams receive a third-round pick if a minority assistant on their staff or front office is hired as a head coach or general manager. Teams would receive a fifth if a minority assistant coach becomes a coordinator elsewhere.

The current Rooney Rule, which has been in place since 2003, requires teams to interview a minority candidate for head coaching vacancies and management positions. While the rule has led to some hires that may not have otherwise been made, its effectiveness has waned in recent years. There are currently only two minority general managers and four head coaches in a league that is about 70 percent black.

Steelers owner Art Rooney II, whose late father Dan developed the rule, told NFL Network's Steve Wyche in January the league needs to do more to improve representation:

"I think where we are right now is not where we want to be, not where we need to be. We need to take a step back and look at what's happening with our hiring processes. The first thing we'll do as part of our diversity committee is really review this past season's hiring cycle and make sure we understand what went on and talk to the people involved both on the owners' side, management's side as well as the people that were interviewed.

"The thing I think we have to look at is back when the Rooney Rule was passed and put in effect in 2003, there was a period there where we did see an increase in minority hiring at the head coaching position. And I think over a period of time there were 10 or 12 minority coaches hired. Since then that trend seems to reverse itself, particularly in the last few years. We need to study what's going on and understand better what's going on and really decide how we improve the situation."

The NFL is set to vote on the proposal Tuesday. King reported that Rooney and NFL executive Troy Vincent are among those pushing for its approval.