League Increases Opportunities for Career Development and Advancement Through Enhanced Mobility Changes and Rooney Rule Expansion
NEW YORK (May 19, 2020) – NFL clubs today adopted new procedures in diversity, equity and inclusion. In approving a resolution and other rules changes, league officials will implement wide-sweeping workplace reforms to increase employment opportunities and advancement for minorities and women across the league.
"We believe these new policies demonstrate the NFL Owners' commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the NFL," said Pittsburgh Steelers owner and chairman of the Workplace Diversity Committee, Art Rooney II. "The development of young coaches and young executives is a key to our future. These steps will assure coaching and football personnel are afforded a fair and equitable opportunity to advance throughout our football operations. We also have taken important steps to ensure that our front offices, which represent our clubs in so many different ways, come to reflect the true diversity of our fans and our country."
The resolution changes the current Anti-Tampering Policy by establishing a system that prohibits a club from denying 1) an assistant coach the opportunity to interview with a new team for a bona fide Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, or Special Teams Coordinator position; (2) a non-high-level/non-secondary football executive from interviewing for a bona fide Assistant General Manager position. In either case, a contract could not be negotiated or signed until after the conclusion of the employer club's playing season; and 3) requires all clubs submit in writing an organizational reporting structure for the coaching staff with job descriptions for any coach who is a coordinator or co-coordinator within that structure. The resolution also requires that any dispute regarding whether the new team is offering a "bona fide" position will be submitted promptly to the Commissioner, whose determination shall be final, binding and not subject to further review.
The resolution was put forth by the Workplace Diversity Committee, chaired by Rooney and the Competition Committee, chaired by Rich McKay (Atlanta Falcons). The league also announced expansion of Rooney Rule requirements and implementation of enhanced diversity policies.
The enhancements to the Rooney Rule include changes both on and off-the-field. Clubs will now be required to interview at least two external minority candidates for head coach vacancies; at least one minority candidate for any of the three coordinator vacancies; and at least one external minority candidate for the senior football operations or general manager position.
For the first time the Rooney Rule will also apply to a wide range of executive positions. Clubs must now include minorities and/or female applicants in the interview processes for senior level front office positions such as club president and senior executives in communications, finance, human resources, legal, football operations, sales, marketing, sponsorship, information technology, and security positions. The league office will also adhere to these requirements.
"The NFL is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, which I believe is critical to our continued success," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "While we have seen positive strides in our coaching ranks over the years aided by the Rooney Rule, we recognize, after the last two seasons, that we can and must do more. The policy changes made today are bold and demonstrate the commitment of our ownership to increase diversity in leadership positions throughout the league."
Comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion plans will be implemented at all 32 clubs and the league office to include education, training, and universal data collection. Additionally, an advisory panel, with input from the Fritz Pollard Alliance, will be convened to promote ideas to foster an inclusive culture of opportunity both on and off the field.
In other steps, for the first time, all 32 NFL clubs will host a coaching fellowship program geared towards minority candidates. These fellowships are full-time positions, ranging from one to two years, and provide NFL Legends, minority, and female participants with hands-on training in NFL coaching. While positions at each organization vary, these programs help identify and develop talent with the goal of advancing candidates to full-time coaching positions through promotion within.
Additionally, the NFL has two long-standing fellowship programs focused on increasing the pipeline for minority coaching and player personnel candidates– the Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship and the Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship.
The NFL's Workplace Diversity Committee is comprised of owners and executive personnel to include: Chair, Art Rooney II (Pittsburgh Steelers); Michael Bidwill (Arizona Cardinals); Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons); Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore Ravens), Kim Pegula (Buffalo Bills), George H. McCaskey (Chicago Bears). E. Javier Loya (Houston Texans); and John Mara (New York Giants).
The NFL's Competition Committee consists of two owners, two club presidents, two general managers, and three head coaches: Chair, Rich McKay (Atlanta Falcons), Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore Ravens), Stephen Jones (Dallas Cowboys), John Elway (Denver Broncos), Mark Murphy (Green Bay Packers), Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints), John Mara (New York Giants), Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers), Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins).
The policy changes were developed in consultation with the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which advocates for diversity and job equality in the league.
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Traci Otey Blunt, email@example.com
2020 RESOLUTION JC-1
Whereas, the member clubs believe that policies designed to promote equal employment opportunity and a diverse and inclusive workforce advance significant league interests, including improved decision making, enhanced business performance, and representing the NFL as an employer of choice that hires and promotes based on merit; and
Whereas, the member clubs have adopted policies extending over several decades in
furtherance of these goals; and
Whereas, the member clubs have long had in place policies designed to permit upward
mobility and advancement of club employees, particularly those in coaching and football
operations roles; and
Whereas, the member clubs believe that it is appropriate to take additional steps to enhance opportunities for employment and advancement of minorities and women in key positions, including leadership roles in coaching, personnel, and football operations,
Be it Resolved, that the following procedures will be added to the Anti-Tampering Policy:
(i) After the conclusion of the regular season through March 1, clubs are prohibited from
denying an assistant coach the opportunity to interview with a new team for a bona fide
Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, or Special Teams Coordinator position.
Any dispute regarding whether the new team is offering a "bona fide" position will be
submitted promptly to the Commissioner, whose determination shall be final, binding
and not subject to further review. The Commissioner shall be authorized to request any
information that he deems necessary from the clubs involved in the dispute, and he may
consult with the Workplace Diversity Committee or Diversity Advisory Panel at his
Criteria for hiring club:
- In order for permission to be automatically granted, such a request cannot be for a shared position. A shared position is defined to include:
- If there is another coach or consultant at the same position;
- If there is a coach or consultant who has a similar responsibility title with the prefix "co-";
- If on the side of the ball for which permission is sought, there is a coach or consultant who has any coordinating responsibility (run game coordinator, pass game coordinator, etc.) or who had such responsibility in the prior season.
- In order to ask for permission, there can be no assistant coach on the hiring club's staff who has the title of assistant head coach or its equivalent.
- For the purposes of this policy, the coordinator (offensive, defensive, or special teams) is defined as an individual whose job responsibilities at least include:
- Leads/coordinates all "team" meetings on their side of the ball;
- Reports directly to the Head Coach and supervises the position coaches on their side of the ball; and
- Must play a role in the development of the game plan but is not required to call the plays during games.
(ii) Coaches employed by a club that earned a bye in the first week of the postseason may be interviewed during the week preceding the Wild Card games. Any such interview
must be completed within the current provisions of the Anti-Tampering Policy.
Interviews with coaches on all other clubs participating in the postseason may not begin
until after the Divisional Playoff games have been completed. Clubs who are not
participating in the playoffs cannot deny (from the conclusion of the regular season
until March 1) an assistant coach the opportunity to interview with a new team for a
bona fide Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, or Special Teams
(iii) All other rules relating to interviewing coaches whose current employer-clubs are
participating in the playoffs remain in effect (for example, a contract cannot be
negotiated or signed until after the conclusion of the employer club's playing season).
Nothing in this resolution modifies the rules pertaining to interviewing coaches for
another club's head coach position.
(iv) After the conclusion of the regular season through March 1, clubs are prohibited from
denying a club employee who is not a high-level employee or a secondary football
executive from interviewing for a secondary football executive position. A secondary
football executive is defined as an individual who has the title of Assistant General
Manager and who is next in line to the Primary Football Executive and who
supervises the Player Personnel department, including college and pro scouting
departments. Each club is permitted to have one secondary football executive.
After March 1 and through the conclusion of the Annual Selection Meeting, if an
inquiring club seeks permission to discuss employment with a person who not a high-level employee or a secondary football executive and is under contract for the
succeeding season or seasons to another club, to offer him or her a position as a secondary football executive, the employer club is under no obligation to grant such
permission if such person's current responsibilities include gathering information on
and evaluating draft-eligible players or veteran free agent players. At the discretion of
the employer club, however, such permission may be voluntarily granted.
After the Annual Selection Meeting, through June 30, clubs are prohibited from
denying a club employee who is not a high-level employee or a secondary football
executive from interviewing for a secondary football executive position.
No club may include in any employment contract provisions restricting opportunities
for upward mobility. Such clauses include a right to match; a designation of the
employee as a "high-level" employee; a requirement for compensation if the employee
moves to another club; or a commitment on the employee's part to refuse any request
to interview for a position with another club, or other limitations in addition to those
established by this Policy. This does not prohibit a contractual commitment to promote
the employee to a high-level employee as currently permitted.
(v) For each season, all clubs are required to submit in writing (1) an organizational
reporting structure for the coaching staff with job descriptions for any coach who is a
coordinator or co-coordinator within that structure; and (2) an organizational reporting
structure for the player personnel/scouting department with job descriptions for each
club employee in a primary football executive position or a secondary football
executive position within that structure. These documents must be submitted to the
NFL's Football Operations department prior to the club's first regular season game of
Submitted by Workplace Diversity Committee
and Competition Committee
Effect: Establishes a system after the conclusion of the regular season, that prohibits a club
(i) from denying an assistant coach the opportunity to interview with a new team for a bona fide Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, or Special Teams Coordinator position; and (ii) from denying a non-high-level/non-secondary football executive from interviewing for a bona fide Assistant General Manager position. In either case a contract could not be negotiated or signed until after the conclusion of the employer club's playing season.
Reason: Diversity, equity, and inclusion. Increase the mobility opportunities of minority
coaches and personnel staff by providing them greater responsibility than their current role.