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Vanderbilt Hires SEC’s First Female Black Athletic Director

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Dr. Candice Storey Lee. Photo: AP

By Dr. Brandon Spradley |

A huge congratulations goes out to Dr. Candice Storey Lee, Vanderbilt’s new full-time athletic director. Dr. Lee was promoted after serving in an interim position since February. She will also serve as the vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs. This hire makes Dr. Lee the first African American woman to lead an SEC athletic department. It indicates small progress for women of color in Division I athletic leadership.

Dr. Richard Lapchick, the Director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, publishes the racial and gender report cards every year. These report cards serve as a comprehensive resource for issues related to race and gender in amateur, collegiate, and professional sport. The 2019 Division I FBS Leadership Racial and Gender Report Card indicates a lack of diversity within collegiate athletic leadership (TIDES, 2019).

The study reports a drastic underrepresentation of women and people of color in campus leadership positions. Dr. Lapchick states that “The lack of representation of women and people of color has been a consistent issue within the arena of college sport.” Dr. Lapchick went on to say that “The dominance of white men at the top has actually increased. The representation of people of color holding a chancellor or president position decreased from last year’s report. There was also a slight decrease of women.”

This study examined the racial and gender makeup of Division 1 FBS Leadership. The positions of leadership include conference commissioners and campus leaders, including college and university presidents and chancellors, athletic directors, and faculty athletic representatives from the 130 institutions that make up Division 1 FBS. The study also included head football coaches, assistant coaches, and students-athletes for football teams (TIDES, 2019).

Dr. Lee, an Alabama native and former Vanderbilt basketball player is one of only five female athletic directors among Power 5 schools. She obtained her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Vanderbilt. This is a groundbreaking achievement. Dr. Lee states “There are a lot of people out there that just need a chance, and so if part of this can mean that there are more opportunities to come for others. I’m really excited about that.”

Let’s celebrate Dr. Lee for this amazing accomplishment. Here at the United States Sports Academy, we wish her much success in her role as athletic director and vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs at Vanderbilt University.

References:

https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/29205275/vandy-makes-candice-lee-sec-first-female-black-ad

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES), 2019, The 2019 DI FBS Leadership College Racial and Gender Report Card: https://www.tidesport.org/

Dr. Brandon Spradley is the chair of sports management at the United States Sports Academy. 

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