Knight Commission Will Reconvene to Review State of College Athletics

A decade after publishing a seminal series of reports that led to the restructuring of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics will reassemble to take stock of the state of college athletics.

The original members of the commission have agreed to reconvene beginning later this summer, conduct hearings and interviews, and issue a new report sometime in 2001, according to Hodding Carter III, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The Knight Commission, an independent panel of 22 leaders from the fields of education, business and sports, met from 1990 until its dissolution six years later. In response to concerns about runaway athletic programs overseen by powerful coaches and athletic directors, the Knight Commission issued three reports, championing an agenda built around a central recommendation that college and university presidents should be firmly in control. At its January 1996 convention, the NCAA adopted a new governance structure “lifted chapter and verse” from the Knight Commission’s recommendations, according to The New York Times.

As before, the Knight Commission will be co-chaired by William C. Friday, president emeritus of the University of North Carolina, and the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, president emeritus for the University of Notre Dame.

“As the Commission said in its final report, ‘reform is not a destination but a race without a finish,’” said Carter. “The NCAA has made some progress on achieving the Commission’s recommendations, the presidents have had some time to assert control and yet major issues have surfaced in the intervening years. This 10-year review of the Knight Commission’s groundbreaking work was unanimously, and enthusiastically, endorsed by our board of trustees.”

“Hodding and I have been encouraged by the positive response by the members of the Commission that we should discuss these matters in greater detail, hear from the NCAA leadership and other major players and aim for producing a new report sometime next year,” said Knight Trustee Creed C. Black, who was president of the Foundation when the Knight Commission was created.