Amherst College was recently the subject of an in-depth piece in the New York Times sports section, detailing groundbreaking efforts at increasing diversity in athletics.
Since getting a mandate from President Biddy Martin about three years ago, Amherst coaches “have since looked beyond the most popular, suburban-based youth sports tournaments and frequently taken the less-traveled path to far-flung locales, small urban gyms and foreign countries,” Bill Pennington wrote for the Times. Youth sports in America “radically skews college athletic opportunities toward high-income families,” resulting in teams that are, in the majority, white. The piece told the story of how Amherst has worked to have teams as diverse as the student body.
“You have to turn over every stone to uncover players in places where other people are not looking,” Justin Serpone, the Amherst men’s soccer coach, told the Times. “There are thousands of kids on nobody’s radar who are good enough to play college soccer … If diversity matters to you, you’ll find kids and take a chance.”
Serpone added, “The most important step is having the college’s leadership tell its coaches point blank that being diverse is an overwhelming priority.”
“And that is something that can be done anywhere.”