Contributed by Kirk Sampson/AU Athletics
The NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, in conjunction with the office of inclusion, is recognizing Auburn Director of Athletics Allen Greene and four other individuals as Champions of Diversity and Inclusion for their work in supporting ethnic minorities and other underrepresented groups and individuals.
The honor was created in 2015 to recognize those who have a commitment to advocating for and advancing others in inclusive efforts around athletics. Generally, one individual is honored quarterly, but with the social injustice and inequities seen throughout 2020, the MOIC and office of inclusion chose to honor multiple people.
The other honorees including Greene are: Tommy Amaker, men’s basketball head coach, Harvard; Jen Fry, community supporter, JenFryTalks; Jacqie McWilliams, commissioner, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and John Nicklow, president, New Orleans.
“As we move through this challenging time in our country’s history, the committee wanted to recognize five people who lead from different seats within and around college athletics,” said Dena Freeman-Patton, chair of the MOIC and deputy athletics director/chief operating officer at New Orleans. “They have been champions for diversity and inclusion throughout their careers and continue to do what is right in 2021. They have been inspirations to our student-athletes and administrators in athletics, and they play a big part in molding our industry and our country. MOIC applauds them for their intentions and bravery in such unprecedented times. Leading with conviction and courage moves us all to a better place in athletics and certainly as we look to the future.”
Individuals were nominated based on how they are influencers in promoting diversity and inclusion; how they are assisting in diversifying pipeline opportunities in their senior or influential position; how they are providing support to underrepresented populations; and their consistency in supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives.
“What a tremendous honor to be recognized by the NCAA via the Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee,” Greene said. “The acknowledgment of an individual’s impact is the result of the impact of many, whereby the desire for change is stronger than the desire for one’s personal gain.”
Along with leading Auburn Athletics, Greene is co-chair of the Black AD Alliance, which was formed last summer to create more opportunities for ethnic minorities at administrative levels in Division I athletics. Greene met with his Auburn coaches last year following social injustice protests and opened discussions about current issues. He also addressed the turmoil publicly with video messaging focusing on continued efforts to educate, develop and support student-athletes during and after the unrest and as the country moves into the future.
The Champions of Diversity and Inclusion will be formally recognized at the 2021 Inclusion Forum, which will be held virtually June 2-4. MOIC and the NCAA will recognize additional Champions of Diversity and Inclusion later this spring.
For more information or to read the full release from the NCAA, visit here.