It is the goal of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics to ensure that intercollegiate athletics programs operate within the educational mission of their colleges and universities.

  • May 19, 2015 - Knight Commission Urges a Student-Centered Approach in College Sports

    Photos and video of the meeting are available below the release.

    The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics convened leaders in athletics administration and experts in antitrust and tax law, public policy and economics to examine pressing issues in college sports and concluded that universities must apply a more laser-like focus on the educational experience of students who compete in intercollegiate athletics.

    In the face of legal and governmental pressures – and in the absence of a clear vision about what direction intercollegiate athletics will take in the coming years – the Commission reiterated its commitment to policies that recognize the educational value inherent in athletics participation and the access it provides to the full college academic experience.

    “The current complexities facing college sports exist because universities have been responding to commercial challenges rather than to the primacy of the educational mission,” said Commission Co-Chair R. Gerald Turner, president at Southern Methodist University. “We believe every decision made during this time of change must be viewed through a student-centered lens. The time has come for the college athletics community to take control of issues that need solutions instead of leaving it to the courts and others to determine outcomes.”

    Commission members urged actions that could be taken in the short term to place more emphasis on the educational imperative by reducing athletically related time demands, reducing financial payouts for winning and realigning them with educational values, and developing standards for coaches that emphasize their responsibilities as educators.

    The meeting also featured two panels addressing potential ramifications of the O’Bannon vs. NCAA court ruling, and offering suggestions for managing the long-range impact of legal challenges to the current Division I structure and the evolving definition of amateurism.

    LINK HERE for the full release.


    • Session 1: Examining the implications of the O'Bannon ruling and related issues impacting college athletes' image rights not addressed in the ruling. 
    • Session 2: Responding to Change: Alternative Regulatory Systems for College Sports

    Photos: link here.


  • The Knight Commission’s athletic and academic spending database allows users to compare athletic and academic spending trends for NCAA Division I public institutions, athletic conferences, and divisions.


    Latest Tweets

    KnightAthletics @KnightAthletics challenge award recipients to use #collegesports spending database to research debt & subsidies:
    KnightAthletics RT @MizzouAlumni: The #Mizzou family gathered this morning to remember & celebrate the life of former @umsystem President Elson Floyd. http…
    KnightAthletics Elson Floyd was a vibrant leader in higher education, a cherished colleague and friend. He will be greatly missed.
  • Collaborative Efforts to Strengthen Educational Opportunities through College Sports

    The Knight Commission shared key principles and ideas that it continues to promote with NCAA President Mark Emmert and members of the new NCAA Division I Board of Directors and Division I Council in a March 16, 2015 memorandum. This communication occurs at a time when the NCAA Division I is implementing a new governance structure while also addressing unprecedented legal challenges to the current model of intercollegiate athletics. Read the memo HERE.

    Knight Commission Studies Interest in Alternative Division I Competition Models

    A Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics study reveals interest among university presidents, athletics administrators, faculty and head coaches in exploring alternative models for Division I competition and administration of different sports that may reduce missed class time and travel costs. The study was conducted to assess interest in whether different structures in various sports might offset the challenging effects of some conferences’ newly enlarged geographic footprints.

    The study, “Exploring a Division I Model Federated by Sport,” was administered by the Center for Research in Intercollegiate Athletics, with assistance from Collegiate Sports Associates, and is intended to serve as a resource to Division I institutions as they discuss many topics emerging within the newly established rules-making structure.

    Read the complete press release HERE. Access the study report HERE.

    Knight Commission Announces Spending Database Challenge Awards

    The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics announces four challenge awards to support research projects that use the Commission's Athletic and Academic Spending Database for NCAA Division I Institutions ( The projects will use the database to investigate athletics debt, athletics debt service, or institutional financial support (e.g., student fees, institutional transfers to athletics, state support) for NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletic programs at public universities. A total of $14,500 is awarded to the following four projects:

    • Athletics Subsidies and College Costs: Are Students Paying for Rising Cost in Intercollegiate Athletics? Willis Jones, University of Kentucky; Michael Rudolph, University of Kentucky
    • Big-Time Sports and Big-Time Research: A Comparison of Commercialization Across the Academy. Jennifer Hoffman, University of Washington; Jacob Rooksby, Duquesne University; Greg Hay, University of Washington
    • Students' Perceptions of Institutional Support for Athletics in NCAA Division I. Jordan Bass, University of Kansas; Claire Schaeperkoetter, University of Kansas; Brian Gordon, University of Wisconsin La Crosse
    • The Impact of Institutional Characteristics on Total Debt Outstanding on Athletic Facilities: Testing a New Paradigm. Linda Clark, Central Connecticut State University

    On Thursday, November 20, 2014, Amy Perko and Scott Hirko presented a workshop on the Knight Commission’s NCAA Division I Athletic and Academic Spending Database to attendees at the Association for the Study of Higher Education annual conference in Washington, DC.  

    Study to Explore Alternative Sport Structures

    At its September 8-9, 2014 meeting, the Knight Commission announced a study to explore alternative sport structures that may respond to increasing financial pressures and the vast differences among sports in costs, market appeal and organizational structures. The study, to be launched in Fall 2014, further pursues concepts that emerged from the Commission’s 2013 research on the governance and structure of college sports. It will probe interest in a system that could allow institutions to alter competitive affiliations for different sports to reduce time demands on athletes and better manage costs.

    Division I Model and Governance Review

    The Knight Commission recently completed its 18-month examination of the Division I model and governance—an examination it called for at its October 24, 2011 meeting.  The Commission’s recommendations were conveyed to the NCAA Board of Directors and NCAA President Mark Emmert in an  August 6 memorandum.

    Latest Tweets

    KnightAthletics @KnightAthletics challenge award recipients to use #collegesports spending database to research debt & subsidies:
    KnightAthletics RT @MizzouAlumni: The #Mizzou family gathered this morning to remember & celebrate the life of former @umsystem President Elson Floyd. http…
    KnightAthletics Elson Floyd was a vibrant leader in higher education, a cherished colleague and friend. He will be greatly missed.