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Ex-EMU, UM athletic administrator Derrick Gragg named NCAA's senior VP for inclusion

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Former Eastern Michigan athletic director Derrick Gragg has been hired to be the NCAA's new senior vice president for inclusion, education and community engagement.

Gragg leaves his job as athletic director at Tulsa.

He was at Eastern Michigan from 2006-13, before leaving for the Tulsa job.

Former Eastern Michigan athletic director Derrick Gragg will start a new job at the NCAA.

“Derrick brings exceptional experience and knowledge to the NCAA, and we look forward to his strong leadership around diversity, inclusion and equity policies and procedures,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. “As a former FBS football student-athlete and longtime athletics administrator in roles in many segments of Division I, Derrick understands the intercollegiate landscape and will be able to formulate relationships where the NCAA can work with constituencies to build more inclusive environments, which will enhance the experiences of student-athletes, coaches and athletics administrators.

"We welcome him and his family to Indianapolis.”

College athletics has found itself in the middle of the nation's current push for racial justice, with many Black athletes, in particularly, speaking out on racial issues and participating in Black Lives Matter protests, sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Many college coaches, too, have been outspoken throughout the movement, which has included hundreds of protests in the U.S.

Gragg's career in athletic administration dates to 1993, and has included stints at Vanderbilt, Missouri and Arkansas, as well as a four-run year at Michigan as assistant athletic director from 1997-2000.

He played football at Vanderbilt, and is an Alabama native.

Gragg, 50, who also holds a master's from Wayne State, will start his new job Oct. 5.

“As a former student-athlete and 27-year intercollegiate athletics administrator, I have dedicated my entire career to the betterment of young people,” Gragg said in a statement. “During this historic era in our country, I look forward to supporting our student-athletes, engaging coaches and staff members, as well as working with our membership to identify ways to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are reflected on all levels. I am honored to be entrusted with this responsibility and look forward to identifying ways to help unite our 1,100 institutions to make a significant impact on higher education and our country as a whole.”

Gragg also will lead the NCAA's Accelerating Academic Success Program, a grant-based program.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984