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NFL Owners to Vote on Rooney Rule Expansion

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The NFL could be expanding the Rooney Rule through a pair of resolutions scheduled to be discussed during a virtual owner’s meeting on Tuesday.

The Rooney Rule, enacted in 2003, requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate when hiring head coaches and senior football operations staff members.

Despite that, the Steelers are one of just four teams with a minority head coach with Mike Tomlin joining Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers, Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins and Ron Rivera of the Washington Redskins.

According to the current proposals, the rule could expand in both scope and in nature. The rule could be doubled to require teams to interview at least two minority candidates, and for the first time, it could be expanded to coordinator positions, as well.

Additionally, teams that hire minorities as head coaches or executives could receive draft pick bonuses in compensation, both for the hiring team and the team that allows their coach to be hired away for a promotion.

The proposed rule changes could also stop teams from refusing to make their coaches available to be interviewed for positions that are considered promotions.

“I think where we are right now, is not where we want to be, not where we need to be,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said to NFL Network in January. “We need to take a step back and look at what’s happening with our hiring processes. The first thing we’ll do as part of our diversity committee is really review this past season’s hiring cycle and make sure we understand what went on and talk to the people involved both on the owners’ side, management’s side as well as the people that were interviewed.”

“The thing I think we have to look at is back when the Rooney Rule was passed and put in effect in 2003, there was a period there where we did see an increase in minority hiring at the head coaching position. And I think over a period of time there were 10 or 12 minority coaches hired. Since then that trend seems to reverse itself particularly in the last few years. We need to study what’s going on and understand better what’s going on and really decide how we improve the situation.”

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