The Southeastern Conference has created the Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice, a league-wide group consisting of athletes, administrators, coaches and SEC staff, it announced Aug. 20.
The council will promote racial equity and social justice by identifying resources and outlining and implementing strategies that support the causes, as well as foster diversity and help to overcome racism in intercollegiate athletics.
“An important movement has been ignited around the equitable treatment of all underrepresented minorities, and the SEC is determined to be a leader in the pursuit of meaningful and lasting change,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “With the Council as our guide, we will develop an action agenda built on the foundation that all are created equal and ensure this truth echoes across our stadiums, our arenas, our campuses, our communities, our states and our nation.”
The SEC said it has used the past several weeks to “gather and understand” perspectives from stakeholders across its campuses to provide a framework for the council. In addition to students, stakeholders included presidents and chancellors, athletic directors, senior women administrators, faculty athletics representatives, various sport head coaches, mental health professionals and the SEC staff.
From those discussions the following five areas of focus for the council emerged:
- Increasing access and representation for underrepresented minorities
- Providing enhanced support for underrepresented minorities
- Improving education on racial and social issues for all stakeholders
- Deepening commitments to local communities
- Raising awareness of racial inequity and social injustice
Student members of the council include individuals from within the conference’s existing student-athlete engagement program — which involves more than 60 student leaders across all SEC sports.
Each of the 14 schools have one representative from administration on the council, from athletic directors to diversity and inclusion heads. Every sport has at least one head coach representative placed on the council— some dual-gender sports, like basketball and swimming, have two head coaches.
The SEC’s council is reminiscent of the Pac-12 Conference’s social justice and anti-racism advisory group, composed of university athletics and academic leaders and student-athletes representing all 12 universities, that was announced in July.