When the Northeastern University Center for Sport in Society released its annual racial report card, the news wasn't so much the grades as who was in the class.
Data from the WNBA was examined for the first time this year, making it the first women's league to be scrutinized. The title also changed this year from a "Racial Report Card" to a "Racial and Gender Report Card."
"The dimension of diversity has really changed," said the center's director, Richard Lapchick. "For so many years, this was a portrait of black and white. When we look at sports in society today, that is no longer the case."
The 10th annual report indicates that the professional leagues do better than college sports at integrating their executive positions, and women are faring better than minorities. Among the pro leagues, the NBA is ahead of the other sports, especially in its spinoff WNBA.
"I think there's a real consciousness in that league more than any other," Lapchick said. "They represent, if anybody does, the whole concept of gender equity."
The NBA received the highest overall grades with an "A" for race and a "B" for gender. The NFL got a "B+" for its racial hiring practices but a "D+" for gender. Major League Baseball got a "B" for race, and college sports received "Cs" for race and gender.
The report also examines the NHL and Major League Soccer for the first time. Leagues in the report for the first time are not given grades.
Other details from the report:
Players: The percentage of black players decreased over the past year in all professional sports, as well as college Division I. In baseball, the 15 percent black participation was a 10-year low.
This decrease can largely be attributed to the increase of Latin American players. In baseball, for example, the percentage of Latinos reached an all-time high of 25 percent.
Women: Women fare better than minorities in terms of off-field opportunities. Except in the NBA, where they are overrepresented in support staff positions and underrepresented in executive positions.
The president of the WNBA, Val Ackerman, is a woman.
International players: The number of foreign-born players in baseball and the NBA was an all-time high. There were also "extremely large numbers" of international players in the WNBA, NHL and MLS.
Colleges: The percentage of black Division I athletic directors, excluding historically black colleges, is 3.2 percent, down from 3.7 percent a year earlier.
"That's kind of a scary number," Lapchick said.
Owners: There were no black or Latino majority owners in any of the leagues examined by the report. There was one Asian majority owner in MLS and the NHL, and three women were majority owners: two in the NFL and one in baseball.