Major League Soccer received an overall grade of B+ for its diversity hiring practices for the second straight year.
The overall grade of 85.4 was up almost a full percentage point from the 84.6 it received last year, according to the annual report released Thursday by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida.
The league received a B+ for its racial hiring practices. MLS received a B for its gender hiring practices, with a three-percent increase from last year.
Richard Lapchick, principal author of the study and director of TIDES, said he is pleased with MLS Commissioner Don Garber's commitment to gender hiring practices, calling it "the most significant item in the study."
"I think the area that almost all of the leagues have the biggest problem in is trying to improve their gender hiring," Lapchick said. "The fact that Major League Soccer has tried to improve that is the most positive thing we noted. They went down one percent in the racial hiring practices and that is something we take note of. But a variation by that small of a percentage point, we suspend judgment on a year to year basis."
The league office again received an A+ in racial hiring and A in gender hiring. The league's overall grade of B+ puts it ahead of Major League Baseball and the NFL, but still behind the NBA.
However, Lapchick said the MLS continued to fall short when it came to senior administration and head coach diversity, with grades of D and C+, respectively.
Lapchick said there is "room for significant improvement" in those areas.
There are only two minorities who hold CEO or president positions in the league — Jody Allen of the Seattle Sounders and Jose David of Chivas USA —while Guillermo Petrei of the Chicago Fire is the league's only minority general manager.