NCAA President, Coaches, Network Executives Meet With Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics

NCAA President, Coaches, Network Executives Meet With Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics

Myles Brand, former UNC Coach Dean Smith Offer Testimony


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics met today with NCAA President Myles Brand, television executives, basketball coaches and faculty members as it continued its work seeking reform of college sports.

Former basketball coaches Dean Smith, University of North Carolina, and Terry Holland, University of Virginia, testified about the state of college basketball. Both spoke strongly in favor of freshman ineligibility, emphasizing that a year of residency without high-level competition would help improve graduation rates in men’s basketball — currently the lowest of all sports.

The faculty panel included representatives of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics and the Drake Group, among others. Both groups have endorsed proposals to integrate athletes more fully into campus life and to address academic and fiscal integrity issues. The groups have called for changes in admissions practices, shorter playing seasons, and limits on budgets and capital expenditures.

The Commission continued its examination of the effect of television on governance issues, commercialization, and postseason play in college football by hearing testimony from Loren Matthews, senior vice president of programming at ABC Sports. The Commission also met with the NCAA’s Brand to review progress on the academic reform package being considered by the NCAA membership. Brand also discussed the NCAA’s nearly completed strategic plan.

“It was good to hear from Myles Brand today and we support the NCAA’s academic reforms efforts,” said William Friday, chair of the Knight Commission and president emeritus of the University of North Carolina. “We plan to monitor the effects of the changes, which we hope will be meaningful.”

The Commission also reviewed results of the recently released NCAA Gender-Equity Survey, showing an increase in female participation in college sports over the past two years. The Commission expressed concern that despite growing participation and increasing revenues, the report also shows that the total number of dollars spent on women’s athletics had not increased significantly over the same time period, and that many men’s sports are being dropped.

“There are signs, encouraging signs, of commitment to meaningful reform across a wide spectrum — NCAA officials, athletics administrators, coaches, faculty, and other key groups,” said Hodding Carter III, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. “But commitment is one thing, real change quite another. Bad things continue to happen to good institutions.”

The Commission plans to continue its examination of issues critical to reforming intercollegiate athletics. It will make recommendations to the NCAA Board of Directors prior to the April 2004 meeting regarding academic reforms, and also will monitor current discussions concerning postseason football and the commercialism issues involved with television contract renewals.

Those in attendance included William Friday, chair of the Knight Commission; Michael F. Adams, president of University of Georgia; Hodding Carter III, president and CEO of the Knight Foundation; Carol Cartwright, president of Kent State University; Mary Sue Coleman, president of University of Michigan; Len Elmore, ESPN analyst and president of Pivot Productions; Elson Floyd, president of the University of Missouri system; Adam Herbert, president of Indiana University; Steve Sample, president of University of Southern California; Harold Shapiro, president emeritus of Princeton University; and Charles E. Young, former president of University of Florida. Unable to attend Monday’s meeting were presidents Thomas K. Hearn Jr., Wake Forest University and R. Gerald Turner, Southern Methodist University.

The Commission will convene again on May 24, 2004 to continue its latest round of work.