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James Moore is joining forces with AthleticDirectorU and many collegiate athletics directors nationwide to bring equity to the hiring of head coaches through the Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge (CCDP).

As stated on its official webpage, the CCDP is an opt-in pledge by Division I athletics directors to include a diverse group of candidates in the finalist pool for head coach vacancies in men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and football. The project has received national attention from ESPN, Stadium, and other sports media outlets.

The CCDP will be overseen by an independent board of advocates that consists of highly respected individuals from higher education and sports. This board will work with James Moore as the third-party clearinghouse to confirm CCDP compliance.

James Moore, operating under a strict non-disclosure agreement, will randomly select a percentage of hires made in the previous hiring cycle for further evaluation. Katie Davis, CPA and partner at James Moore (and leader of the firm’s Collegiate Athletics Services team), will oversee the project.

“Our role is trusted accountability partner to the participating athletics directors,” said Davis. “We understand that athletics departments and coaching candidates are in the public spotlight, and we have a proven record of approaching our work with the utmost care and sensitivity.”

“Our overall goal is to assure that all finalist candidates receive equal treatment,” said Jason Belzer, founder of AthleticDirectorU, who cited that minority contenders sometimes become “token” candidates for jobs. As he told ESPN, “Nothing hurts more than to be courted and thinking you’re a serious candidate and then finding out you’re not.”

At project announcement, 30 athletics directors representing 18 conferences made a commitment to equity in hiring by signing the CCDP. This includes Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork, the lone power conference AD thus far that has signed the pledge.

“Anytime you do a search, you should be thinking about creating a diverse pool anyway,” Bjork told Stadium. “But this pledge heightens awareness and will help the entire industry. The accountability piece is huge, and it will also give you a way to reflect on your process by having a third party analyze it.”

There have been reports that the National Football League’s Rooney Rule, a similar policy that requires consideration of ethnic-minority candidates, is not working well. “James Moore’s involvement as a third-party clearinghouse is the review mechanism that sets the CCDP apart from the Rooney Rule,” said Belzer.

“As a public accounting firm, James Moore brings additional credibility to the project by providing a professional and meaningful outside look into the hiring process,” said Davis. “We believe in the mission of the pledge, and James Moore is proud to be working with leaders in collegiate athletics to make a positive difference.”