Mission & Statement of Principles


The Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics was formed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in October 1989 in response to more than a decade of highly visible scandals in college sports. The goal of the Commission was to recommend a reform agenda that emphasized academic values in an arena where commercialization of college sports often overshadowed the underlying goals of higher education.

The Commission presented a series of recommendations in its groundbreaking 1991 report, Keeping Faith with the Student-Athlete, and again in 2001 in A Call to Action.

Today, the Commission continues to focus its efforts on advocating for policies and practices that will ensure intercollegiate athletic programs operate within the educational mission of their colleges and universities.

The Commission concluded its first report in 1991 with this Statement of Principles. Upon review, we find these principles to be just as applicable today. We commend them to campus administrators and boards of trustees for their consideration and support.
  1. The educational values, practices and mission of this institution determine the standards by which we conduct our intercollegiate athletics program.
  2. The responsibility and authority for the administration of the athletics department, including all basic policies, personnel and finances, are vested in the president.
  3. The welfare, health and safety of student-athletes are primary concerns of athletics administration on this campus. This institution will provide studentathletes with the opportunity for academic experiences as close as possible to the experiences of their classmates.
  4. Every student-athlete—male and female, majority and minority, in all sports—will receive equitable and fair treatment.
  5. The admission of student-athletes—including junior college transfers—will be based on their showing reasonable promise of being successful in a course of study leading to an academic degree. That judgment will be made by admissions officials.
  6. Continuing eligibility to participate in intercollegiate athletics will be based on students being able to demonstrate each academic term that they will graduate within five years of their enrolling. Students who do not pass this test will not play.
  7. Student-athletes, in each sport, will be graduated in at least the same proportion as non-athletes who have spent comparable time as full-time students.
  8. All funds raised and spent in connection with intercollegiate athletics programs will be channeled through the institutions general treasury, not through independent groups, whether internal or external. The athletics department budget will be developed and monitored in accordance with general budgeting procedures on campus.
  9. All athletics-related income from non-university sources for coaches and athletics administrators will be reviewed and approved by the university. In cases where the income involved the university’s functions, facilities or name, contracts will be negotiated with the institution.
  10. We will conduct annual academic and fiscal audits of the athletics program. Moreover, we intend to seek NCAA certification that our athletics program complies with the principles herein. We will promptly correct any deficiencies and will conduct our athletics program in a manner worthy of this distinction.