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Negative Recruiting report lays foundation for gay-positive college sports

By Cyd Zeigler jr.

Two great women have come together to write a fantastic, comprehensive report that is their latest step in trying to end collegiate and high school Negative Recruiting Based on Sexual Orientation.

Helen Carroll, Sports Project Manager for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Pat Griffin, Director of It Takes A Team! Education Campaign, have been at the forefront of tackling homophobia in sports for many years. In their latest report they lay out best practices for coaches, athletic directors, athletes and parents who may be the purveyors or victims of negative recruiting.

The foundation of their study is that negative recruiting is ethically wrong because of the damage it does to players and coaches, both gay and straight.

Equal opportunity in sport is a core principle that should be deeply valued and vigorously pursued. Negative recruiting based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, which refers to the practice of playing on stereotypes to deter recruits from attending rival athletic programs by alleging or implying that a rival coach or team members are gay or lesbian, undermines this core principle.

The report doesn't just sit on a high horse and preach morality, it also lays the case that an end to negative recruiting can help an athletic program thrive.

Moreover, when all participants in athletics are committed to fair play, inclusion and respect, student-athletes are free to focus on performing their best in athletic competition and in the classroom. This climate promotes the well-being and achievement potential of all student-athletes.

The report also lays out extensive details on how participants at every level of intercollegiate sport can help end negative recruiting.

Kudos to Pat and Helen for all their work on the subject, and this report in particular. It does not read like the work of two activists trying to push their agenda on any institutions but rather an extended hand and an offer to help solve the issues that so many colleges, coaches and athletes have to face every year. They have been unabashed in their years of tackling this issue, and the report reflects their continuing open conversation about the topic. It is an insightful, practical compilation of their research, experience and know-how; You can read the report on the NCLR Web site.