The NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, in conjunction with the office of inclusion, is recognizing five individuals as Champions of Diversity and Inclusion for their work in supporting ethnic minorities and other underrepresented groups and individuals.
The honor was created in 2015 to recognize those who have a commitment to advocating for and advancing others in inclusive efforts around athletics. Generally, the one individual is honored quarterly, but with the social injustice and inequities seen throughout 2020, the MOIC and office of inclusion chose to honor multiple people.
The five honorees are:
- Tommy Amaker, men’s basketball head coach, Harvard.
- Jen Fry, community supporter, JenFryTalks.
- Allen Greene, athletics director, Auburn.
- Jacqie McWilliams, commissioner, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
- John Nicklow, president, New Orleans.
“As we move through this challenging time in our country’s history, the committee wanted to recognize five people who lead from different seats within and around college athletics,” said Dena Freeman-Patton, chair of the MOIC and deputy athletics director/chief operating officer at New Orleans. “They have been champions for diversity and inclusion throughout their careers and continue to do what is right in 2021. They have been inspirations to our student-athletes and administrators in athletics, and they play a big part in molding our industry and our country. MOIC applauds them for their intentions and bravery in such unprecedented times. Leading with conviction and courage moves us all to a better place in athletics and certainly as we look to the future.”
Individuals were nominated based on how they are influencers in promoting diversity and inclusion; how they are assisting in diversifying pipeline opportunities in their senior or influential position; how they are providing support to underrepresented populations; and their consistency in supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Fry, a former Division II student-athlete and veteran volleyball coach, leads a social justice education firm called JenFryTalks, which uses conversation tactics to educate and empower individuals in athletics on issues of race, inclusion, intersectionality, diversity and equity through an anti-racist lens. She helps athletics administrators and teams through difficult conversations in her workshops, discussion sessions and consultations. The social justice educator has worked with numerous schools, conferences and organizations.
The Champions of Diversity and Inclusion will be formally recognized at the 2021 Inclusion Forum, which will be held virtually June 2-4. MOIC and the NCAA will recognize additional Champions of Diversity and Inclusion later this spring.