Knight Commission to Meet Oct. 27 to Discuss Publicity Rights, Fantasy Games, and Commercialism

FOR RELEASE —October 1, 2008
CONTACT AND RSVP: Katie Reardon, Widmeyer Communications, 202.667.0901 x150 or

Media Advisory


Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics chaired by William E. “Brit” Kirwan, Chancellor, University System of Maryland and R. Gerald Turner, President of Southern Methodist University

What: Knight Commission meeting to discuss commercialism in sports and athletes’ rights in the 21st Century; how the new media landscape and emerging developments such as college fantasy football an
d basketball games impact traditional amateurism principles; and, college sports finances (agenda below)

When: Monday, Oct. 27, 8:45 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. EST
Reporters will have a chance to interview and talk with panelists and Commission members during breaks or at the conclusion of the final session. Meeting photographs will be accessible following the meeting.

Where: Holeman Lounge, National Press Club, 529 14th St., NW, 13th Floor, Washington, D.C.

Longstanding NCAA amateurism principles prohibit the commercial use of college players’ names, images and likenesses. However, these principles are challenged by emerging online media and a desire to enhance revenue by allowing the use of athletes’ names and images by commercial partners. The current debate over whether names and statistics of college athletes should be allowed to be used in commercial fantasy football and basketball games without the institutions’ or athletes’ consent is one issue to be discussed in the broader examination of college athletes and their publicity rights.

Two Knight Commission panels will explore the legal, business and policy issues with the nation’s most knowledgeable experts on these issues.

The Knight Commission also will receive a report on the financial health of Division I athletics programs. In particular, the Commission and experts will discuss the increasing reliance of Division I institutions on institutional subsidies to balance their budgets, particularly as deficits on athletic spending continue to grow. Since it reconvened in November 2003, the Commission has advocated for new processes to improve the accuracy of athletics financial data and greater transparency for these data. The Commission will hear from financial experts and an athletics director on how new NCAA financial reporting processes have improved the accuracy and comparability of data and whether the new system provides the desired transparency and accountability.

These sessions are the first in a year-long series of planned discussions on the economics and finance of college sports that will culminate in a major report on the realities facing universities and athletics programs in late 2009.

Complete bios and pictures of Commission members can be found at The meeting sessions will be accessible via podcast on the website after the conclusion of the event. The Commission will meet next in Miami, FL on Monday, Jan. 26, 2009.

About the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics
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 promote a reform agenda that emphasized academic values in a climate in which commercialization of college sports often overshadowed the underlying goals of higher education. The Commission, which presented recommendations in a series of reports in the early 1990s and in the subsequent A Call to Action in 2001, continues to monitor and advocate for changes necessary to enhance presidential control and leadership, academic integrity, financial integrity and independent certification of athletics programs.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight focuses on ideas and projects that create transformational change. For more, visit

Meeting Agenda
National Press Club
529 14th St., NW 13th Floor
Washington, D.C.

Monday, Oct. 27, 2008
8:45 – 10:30 a.m. Commercialism in Sports and Athletes’ Rights in the 21st Century: How the new media landscape and fan interactivity is impacting traditional amateurism principles (Part I)—Holeman Lounge

Robert Corn-Revere, Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine; Project Chair and Co-Author, First Amendment and the Media, Media Institute; Author, Freedom of Speech and Content Regulation on the Internet, Internet law and Regulation (Treatise Chapter), Pike & Fischer, Inc.

Jeffrey Mishkin, Partner, Skadden, Arps; former Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, National Basketball Association

Wallace Renfro, Vice President and Senior Advisor to the President, NCAA

Clay Walker, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Fantasy Sports Ventures; Founder and former Chairman, Fantasy Sports Association; former Senior Vice President of the NFL Player’s Association’s licensing and marketing arm (PLAYERS INC.)

Glenn Wong, Professor and Attorney, Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Faculty Athletics Representative

10:45 a.m. – noon Commercialism in Sports and Athletes’ Rights in the 21st Century (Part II)

Kerry Kenny, Chairman, NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee; former basketball player, Lafayette College

Craig Krenzel, former football player, The Ohio State University

Marvin Lewis, Associate Athletics Director, Georgia State University; former basketball athlete, Georgia Tech

noon – 12:45 p.m. Lunch Break

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. College Sports Finances: An Update on Efforts to Improve Accuracy of Financial Data reported by Division I Athletics Programs and a Report on the Financial Health of Division I Athletics Programs

Dan Fulks, Author, 2004-06 NCAA Revenues and Expenses of Division I Intercollegiate Athletics Programs Report and Accounting Program Director, Transylvania University

Andrew Zimbalist, Professor of Economics, Smith College; author, Unpaid Professionals: Commercialism and Conflict in Big-Time College Sports (1999), The Bottom Line: Observations and Arguments on the Sports Business (2006) and Equal Play: Title IX and Social Change (2007)

Ron Wellman, Athletics Director, Wake Forest University