NFL announces new policies to enhance diversity

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Photo credit Photo: Doug Pensinger - Getty Images

The National Football League has implemented several changes to increase employment opportunities and advancement for women and minorities, including changing a policy that will now prohibit teams from denying assistant coaches opportunities to interview with other clubs for promotions other than head coach.

Previously, teams could deny permission to any coach under contract to interview for any position with another team other than head coach. There was no distinction between assistant, coordinator, etc. That’s now changing. The new policy prohibits a club 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.  

A big reason the old rule was in place the way it was, was so teams couldn’t “fluff” a position or title just to poach someone else’s assistant. To still prevent that from happening, any dispute regarding whether the new team is offering a “bona fide” position can be submitted to commissioner Roger Goodell, who will review the matter and make a final ruling.

Here’s the new criteria for the hiring team, for the interview to be automatically granted, via a press release by the league:

It 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. 

Additionally, 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 new 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;
  • Must play a role in the development of the game plan but is not required to call the plays during games. 


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