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Len Elmore: Advocate for Gender and Racial Equality in Collegiate Athletics

Len Elmore continues to fight for gender and racial equality in sports in and out of the classroom as a Chairman of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and Senior Lecturer for the M.S. in Sports Management program. Elmore was a panelist for the Knight Commission, an influential panel of American academic, athletic, and sports leaders, alongside Dr. Nancy Zimpher and Amy Perko.

According to the New York Amsterdam News, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) awards more than $160 million to colleges, based on Division I men’s basketball teams’ wins and participation in the Men’s Basketball Tournament. However, zero dollars are awarded by the NCAA for performance by women’s basketball teams in the Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament. On May 16th, 2022, Elmore and the Knight Commission panelists and co-chairs called to implement a gender equity principle. This principle would provide equal rewards for the performance of NCAA women’s and men’s teams. The panelists also recommended a new racial equity standard to help close the graduation gap between Black and white collegiate athletes.

The NCAA also gives academic award money to colleges and universities with large racial gaps. The Knight Commission recommends that institutions must demonstrate a racial gap of less than twenty-five percent in order to qualify for academic-based awards. “Black college athletes are both the largest racial minority in Division I and the minority group with the largest negative graduation gap compared to the graduation rates of white athletes,” said Elmore.

Gender and racial inequalities have always been prevalent in collegiate sports, and the standards and guidelines are not yet in place to combat this. As a former collegiate basketball All-American athlete, Elmore identifies the need for equality in sports and is committed to shaping a better future for college athletes.


Learn more about the M.S. in Sports Management program.