NFL Teams to Host Fellowship Coaching Program Geared Toward Minorities and Women

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 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

NFL franchises voted in favor of a new coaching fellowship program for minority and female candidates Tuesday.

All 32 teams will be required to provide full-time positions for one or two years to "provide NFL legends, minority and female participants with hands-on training in NFL coaching." These fellowships are designed to identify talented candidates who would continue to move up within their organizations at the end of the program.

The announcement came as part of several initiatives passed by the league aimed at increasing diversity in coaching and front office positions. The NFL also eliminated anti-tampering rules that previously allowed teams to prohibit assistant coaches to interview for coordinator position.

In addition, the Rooney Rule will require teams to interview two external minority candidates for head coaching vacancies, one external minority candidate for several front office positions and one minority candidate for coordinator positions.

Steelers owner Art Rooney II said:

"We believe these new policies demonstrate the NFL Owners' commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the NFL. The development of young coaches and young executives is a key to our future. These steps will assure coaching and football personnel are afforded a fair and equitable opportunity to advance throughout our football operations. We also have taken important steps to ensure that our front offices, which represent our clubs in so many different ways, come to reflect the true diversity of our fans and our country."

The Rooney Rule was first implemented in 2003, with the aim of increasing the NFL's sparse representation of minorities in high-ranking positions. The initiative has failed in recent years, as there is only four minority head coaches and two minority general managers heading into the 2020 season. NFL executive Troy Vincent called the system "broken" in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

"We're not satisfied with where we are; we know we can and should do better," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters. "That's why this package of seven initiatives is very significant. Our work here is not done."