Statements of Support


Statements of Support

Restoring the Balance: Dollars, Values, and the Future of College Sports


Secretary Arne Duncan
U.S. Department of Education

"With this report, the Knight Commission has shown once again its steadfast commitment to protecting educational priorities and strengthening accountability in intercollegiate sports. I join the Knight Commission in calling for stronger eligibility standards for post-season play. The commission recommends that teams not on track to graduate 50 percent of their players be banned from post-season competition. Whatever the exact benchmark—I’ve proposed a 40 percent graduation rate cutoff that would increase to 50 percent—the NCAA needs to strengthen its use of the Academic Progress Rate (APR) index to protect the interests of student athletes and the integrity of their parent institutions in a more rigorous and timely fashion. It is so important to get this right. When college athletic programs and universities have their priorities in order--as most do--there is no better place to teach invaluable life lessons than on the playing field or court."

Molly Corbett Broad, President
American Council on Education

"In its new report, Restoring the Balance: Dollars, Values, and the Future of College Sports, the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics builds on its previous research—as well as the good work of the NCAA and others—to lay out specific recommendations for enhancing transparency and accountability in the financing of intercollegiate athletics. I am extremely pleased to see that the academic enterprise and the well-being of student athletes are at the core of their proposals.

There are many constructive ideas in this report. The public release of financing data—including the current NCAA dashboard for Division I college and university presidents—has much to recommend it. I am hopeful that sharing such information will allow institutions to better self-regulate in an important but often misunderstood area of higher education administration. Also important are recommendations that would strengthen post-season program eligibility standards and additional reporting requirements that could help monitor potential campus spending imbalances between athletics and academics.

I commend the members of the Knight Commission, particularly University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. Kirwan and Southern Methodist University President Gerald Turner, for their commitment to this very important work. I believe they have produced a report that is worthy of much consideration and discussion and am sure that when Mark Emmert joins the NCAA this summer, he will engage the higher education community in a constructive conversation about these and other pressing issues."

Founded in 1918, ACE ( is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It seeks to provide leadership and a unifying voice on key higher education issues and influence public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives.

Former U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini
Member, Arizona Board of Regents

"Athletics are an integral part of many colleges and universities and bring camaraderie to campuses across the country, but in recent decades the competitiveness of college sports has led to an imbalance between spending on athletics and academics, with the former often times getting a bigger piece of the pie," stated Arizona Board of Regents member and former U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini. "The Knight Commission’s recommendations are clear, common-sense measures that should be embraced by athletics departments across the country. I look forward to a full review and discussion of these recommendations with my colleagues, and would encourage university trustees across the nation and the NCAA to study them as well with an eye toward possible implementation to provide stronger accountability to the public and to our stakeholder groups."

AGB Board of Directors Endorses Knight Commission Report: “Restoring the Balance: Dollars, Values, and the Future of College Sports”

Washington, D.C., November 16: The Board of Directors of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) voted at its November board meeting to endorse the recent report issued by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, “Restoring the Balance: Dollars, Values, and the Future of College Sports.” The report advocates strengthening intercollegiate athletics in three ways, which are consistent with AGB’s own work on intercollegiate athletics: 1) require greater transparency, including better measures to compare athletics spending to academic spending; 2) reward practices that make academic values a priority; and 3) treat college athletes as students first and foremost, not as professionals.

“The Knight Commission’s report clearly shows that the current model for intercollegiate athletics is not sustainable,” said James Weaver, AGB board chair. “In this era of heightened scrutiny of higher education spending, it is imperative that boards show leadership in this area and remain true to their fiduciary role.”

AGB has a long history of advocating board oversight of intercollegiate athletics. Most recently, in 2009, the AGB board added an “Illustrative Policy on Intercollegiate Athletics for Boards and Presidents” to its “Statement on Board Oversight of Intercollegiate Athletics,” which is considered a blueprint for boards on their oversight role in the administration of intercollegiate athletics. This work can be found at:\

“I am so pleased the AGB Board of Directors has voted to endorse this important report, especially as the trends for institutional subsidies for athletics continue to grow,” said William “Brit” Kirwan, co-chair of the Knight Commission, and chancellor, University System of Maryland. “AGB has been a vocal advocate for appropriate board oversight of intercollegiate athletics. This is more urgent now as only 14 athletic programs turned an operating profit in 2009, while median expenses across FBS programs grew by nearly 11 percent, and the median institutional subsidy increased to $10.2 million in 2009, a 25 percent increase over 2008.”

“College and university boards play a central role in restoring the balance to the management of college sports,” said Richard Legon, AGB president. “Appropriate board engagement and support are key to implementing the Knight Commission’s recommendations. We owe it to our student-athletes and our institutions to make serious strides toward doing so. AGB stands ready to do its part.”

Founded in 1921, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) is the only national association that serves the interests and needs of academic governing boards, boards of institutionally related foundations, and campus CEOs and other senior-level campus administrators on issues related to higher education governance and leadership. AGB serves more than 1,200 institutions and 34,000 individuals. Its work advances the practice of citizen trusteeship and helps ensure the quality and success of our nation's colleges and universities.

Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics

The Steering Committee of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA) has voted to endorse recommendations of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics for strengthening accountability of college athletics by requiring greater financial transparency and maintaining academic integrity and refers these proposals to its member senates for affirmation.

The Knight Commission is widely recognized by universities, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the national media as a leading voice for intercollegiate athletics reform and is a long-time ally of COIA. At COIA's 2010-11 annual meeting, Amy Perko, Executive Director of the
Knight Commission, presented selected recommendations from the Commission’s recent report Restoring the Balance: Dollars, Values, and the Future of College Sports (2010) and requested coalition endorsement. COIA representatives present at the meeting informally but unanimously voted to support the commission's recommendations and asked COIA's Steering Committee to prepare a document articulating that endorsement. This is that document.

Both COIA and the Knight Commission believe that clear, comparable and complete financial data must be publicly accessible to improve accountability in intercollegiate athletics and foster meaningful, long-term reform. Therefore, the COIA Steering Committee voted to endorse the Knight Commission recommendations that all Division I institutions should: 1) make NCAA financial reports public, 2) publish additional information about long-term debt and capital spending in athletics, and 3) report annually on growth rates in academic and athletic spending. Further, COIA Steering Committee seconded the Knight Commission’s call for the presidents serving on the NCAA Board of Directors to adopt rule changes to implement these recommendations.

Also endorsed by the COIA Steering Committee were specific Knight Commission recommendations designed to reward practices that make academic values a priority: 1) strengthen the standards for postseason eligibility by requiring teams to be on track to graduate at least 50 percent of their players in order to be eligible for postseason competition, and 2) incorporate an academic component in the revenue distribution formulas for football and basketball postseason revenues. (U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan endorsed these recommendations on March 17, 2011.)

Details of the recommendations can be found at

The COIA Steering Committee believes that these Knight Commission recommendations are consistent with and further the coalition’s guiding principles and deal with matters of importance to the university faculties that COIA represents. Consequently, the Steering Committee asks COIA member senates to consider these recommendations independently and to discuss ways to enhance greater financial transparency and academic integrity in intercollegiate athletics at their local campuses To the extent that it is locally appropriate, member senates are encouraged to affirm the Steering Committee’s endorsement and to communicate their support for the recommendations to their presidents, faculty athletic representatives, and athletics directors. (Within COIA, the official vote of each member senate shall be cast by either the senate president/chair or the institution’s COIA representative. While consideration by the full senate or its appropriate committee is desirable, it is not required under COIA’s by-laws for this affirmation.)

Questions may be directed to John S. Nichols ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or Kenneth A. Struckmeyer ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), COIA Co-Chairs, or Amy Perko ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), Knight Commission Executive Director.

Peter Likins, President Emeritus
University of Arizona

"The 1991 report of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics had an immediate impact on the policies governing college and university athletics, and more importantly it had a long-term transformational influence on the culture of college sports.

Despite many improvements in the system’s integrity and the elevation of academic performance requirements for athletic competition, the current financial trends have led to increasing imbalances between athletics and academics and the threat of financial destabilization of the national enterprise.

Recognizing that current economic trends are unsustainable and potentially destructive, the Knight Commission in its new report offers recommendations designed to halt and even reverse the trends that increase the growing divide between athletic and academic interests on college and university campuses.

In the tradition of previous Knight Commission reports, Restoring the Balance offers ambitious but achievable goals that will if adopted greatly improve the athletic enterprise for the nation as a whole and increase the likelihood of continuing success in the world of intercollegiate athletics. With varying degrees of intensity, I can endorse every recommendation in the report.

Powerful interests will oppose the reforms recommended here, arguing that they know how to solve current financial problems by increasing revenues. Such strategies may indeed succeed in the short term for some conferences and their member universities, but financial problems will be exacerbated for other universities and the gap between athletic and academic interests will widen further.

I expect that the NCAA as an organization will want to support these recommendations, but the responsibility for reform lies with individual university CEO’s and their governing boards."

Peter M. McPherson, President
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

"Intercollegiate athletics offers opportunities and experiences that students deeply value. Moreover, athletics provide visibility and support from alumni and the public, support that is frequently of great benefit to universities.

It is also true that public universities are under greater fiancial stress in the delivery of their core education mission than at any time in decades. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) has been and is deeply involved in the issues of education costs. Athletics costs per student have gone up much faster than education costs, and university presidents and chancellors are striving to contain all these costs while maintaining the quality of education. I support the Commission's recommendation that universities make available the ratio of cost of education per student to the costs of athletics. Transparency in costs is important. There is some work that the NCAA must do to provide guidance in the collection and reporting of the athletic costs for that information to be helpful and that work should be done.

The report strongly supports the need for university athletics to be student focused and brings important focus to this matter. Students as athletes, not athletes as students, should be touch stone."


Below, please find editorials from the release of Restoring the Balance: Dollars, Values and the Future of College Sports on June 17, 2010 and other editorials surrounding the work of the Knight Commission through May 20, 2011.  Download a PDF of the media editorials by clicking here.


1. Houston Chronicle- Court time v. class time

2. The Salt Lake Tribune- Eye on the ball

3. The Gainesville Sun- Editorial: The core mission

4. Orlando Sentinel- Put academics first: Colleges must curb athletic spending and focus on academics

5. College athletic programs ought to share the wealth

6. (serving Pennsylvania counties)- Troubling reports on higher learning

7. The Detroit News- Universities should heed commission’s ideas for spending on athletics

8. Roanoke Times- Editorial: Prove the profitability of college sports

9. The Daily Tribune (Oakland Co, MI)- Universities must cut funding for college sports

10. Boston Globe- Concerned about rising tuition? Look at the coaches’ salaries

11. The Daily Camera (Colorado)- Treating student athletes like students: March Madness takes a class

12. The Press Democrat (California)- PD Editorial: Hoop glory

13. The Times-Tribune (Pennsylvania)- Stop (part of) the madness

13a. Republished in The Progress-Index (Virginia) as NCAA basketball graduation rates aren't always so sweet

14. Florida Times-Union- College athletics: Get serious on academics

Student Newspaper Editorials:

1. The Oracle Editorial Board, University of South Florida- Editorial: Suggestions good for NCAA

2. The Chronicle, Duke University- Support the Knight report

3. The Maneater, University of Missouri, Columbia- Editorial: Should academics or athletics be the true face of Missouri

Knight Commission member Sarah Lowe on the purpose of college sports

Knight Commission member Len Elmore on putting college athletics into perspective

Knight Commission Co-Chairman William E. “Brit” Kirwan on financial reform