The Rooney Rule apparently doesn’t apply to interim coaching hires. There are, however, apparently some “guidelines” that may not have been followed.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance has issued a statement announcing the commencement of an investigation as to whether those guidelines were followed during last week’s interim head coach hiring process in Indianapolis.
“In light of the recent interim head coaching hire in Indianapolis, the FPA has initiated an inquiry with the NFL into whether this hiring process conformed with NFL Hiring Guidelines for naming an interim Head Coach,” the Fritz Pollard Alliance said in a statement issued on Thursday.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance issued a statement last week, in the aftermath of Colts owner Jim Irsay’s hiring of Jeff Saturday, expressing concern over the process — and suggesting that it should be applied in interim hiring situations. At a minimum, the Rooney Rule should apply where the hire comes from outside the current coaching staff.
Full compliance with the Rooney Rule will be required once the season ends, and the Colts begin the formal process of hiring a coach. With Irsay already giving off vibes that Saturday will be his guy for 2023, Irsay could have a hard time persuading minority candidates to interview for the job.
The fact that Irsay has hired two Black coaches since 2002 doesn’t give him a free pass when it comes to compliance now or in the future. The rule is in place to rectify decades of questionable hiring practices throughout the entire league, and the owners decided 20 years ago to make it a mandatory part of the every hiring process for head coaches.