OUA anti-racism report shows disproportionate representation in coaches & administrators

‘Safer and more welcoming’: Queen’s Athletics and Recreation committed to implementing change

The anti-racism report gathered data from 5001 OUA members.

This week, the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and the Indigeneity, Diaspora, Equity and Anti-racism (IDEA) in Sport Research Lab released their Anti-Racism Report to address racism in varsity sports.

Largely inspired by the experiences and recommendations of the conference’s Black, Biracial, and Indigenous (BBI) Task Force, the OUA Anti-Racism Project was intended to create and raise awareness about the demographics and experiences of student-athletes, coaches, and sport administrators across the conference.

“This project was unique as it’s the only research I have done that examined a singular institution—provincial athletic conference—from the perspectives of a wider range of stakeholders, including administrators, coaches, and student-athletes,” Janelle Joseph, founder and director of IDEAS Lab stated in a press release.

“Those who are racialized described everyday racism, microaggressions, jokes, and barriers to recruitment and promotion that, sadly, had become expected. Meanwhile, those who had not witnessed, heard, or seen racism firsthand were completely unaware of the depths of the problem,” Joseph said.

According to Joseph, the results were provided through a questionnaire designed by the IDEAS lab. A total of 4,058 student-athletes, 716 coaches, and 227 sport administrators contributed to the questionnaire—5,001 OUA members.

Additionally, 107 members, including 20 athletic directors, participated in interviews and focus groups for key findings and recommendations.

The research question focused on the role post-secondary educational institutions play in racism and anti-racism experiences in sport and how anti-racism can improve post-secondary education at an institutional level.

“The questionnaire responses demonstrate disproportionate representation of [w]hite coaches and [w]hite administrators compared to [w]hite athletes,” the report states.

A reported 71.3 per cent of the OUA’s student-athlete population are white, with 78.5 per cent of coaches and 80.1 per cent for administrators.

The report also revealed racialized individuals who are coaching—which constitutes less than 22 per cent of coaches—are often paid on “limited seasonal salaries” or simply on a volunteer basis.

According to the report, racialized coaches also have lower retention rates—as they fear reprimand for their coaching decisions—and bear concerns of alienation if they speak out about injustices.

Through a collection of anecdotal evidence, the OUA anti-racism report outlined implicit racism and microaggressions from athletes as well.

The report found student-athletes were “disheartened” and ended up transferring to schools with more racial diversity in the face of “racist words” that were expressed “unintentionally.”

Many also shared examples of implicit racism that significantly affected their mental health.

Despite the detailed instances of racism in OUA, Queen’s Athletics and Recreation (A&R) stated they see this as an “opportunity” to reflect and implement change.

“A&R welcomes this report as an opportunity to reflect and implement change to create a safer and more welcoming community,” Queen’s Athletics and Recreation stated in a press release.

“We look forward to our A&R EDII Task Force, and all members of our department, utilizing the OUA Anti-Racism Report as an informative and helpful resource to assist the Task Force in determining priorities and key action steps—for the department going forward.”


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