Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics Meeting Advisory

Knight Conference Center at the Newseum

555 Pennsylvania Ave. N. W., 8th Floor

Washington, D.C.

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Meeting Agenda and Session Summaries

10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Sports participation and sports sponsorship at Division I universities:
How have participation and varsity sports opportunities changed over time? How have financial pressures contributed to these changes? What are other key factors impacting varsity sports opportunities? What are projections for future?

During this session, University of Arizona professor and researcher John Cheslock will review findings from the most recent and comprehensive research on sports sponsorship and participation to date and discuss the impact of financial pressures and other factors. {Athletics Director to be determined} will provide a reaction to these findings and discuss the factors presidents and athletics directors must consider when allocating resources and determining the appropriate scope and funding of varsity sports opportunities at their respective universities.

The Division I philosophy statement indicates that its members believe in offering extensive opportunities for participation in varsity intercollegiate athletics for both men and women.Division I schools are required to sponsor at least 14 sports, at least seven of which must be women’s sports.The median number of sponsored sports is 19 for institutions in the Football Bowl Subdivision; 18 for institutions in the Football Championship Subdivision and 16 for Division I institutions without football.

John Cheslock will present data he has collected relevant to this issue, including:

  1. Over the last 20 years, women’s sports sponsorship in Division I has increased by around 700 teams while men’s sports sponsorship fell by around 250 teams.
  2. These trends differ from other divisions within the NCAA, as sponsorship of both men’s and women’s sports have increased in Divisions II and III.
  3. These trends differ substantially by sport. For example, over 200 women’s soccer teams have been added on net while women’s gymnastics sponsorship has declined by over 10 teams.
  4. The number of athletes is rising relative to sport sponsorship because roster sizes in many sports have increased over time.
  5. Estimates of expenditure growth are much less precise than participation growth due to data limitations, but these estimates suggest rapid growth. The best available data indicates that athletic expenditures have increased by 7% a year after inflation since 1995.


  • John J. Cheslock, Associate Professor, Center for the Study of Higher Education, University of ArizonaDr. John J. Cheslock is an Associate Professor in the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona. Receiving his Ph.D. in Labor Economics from Cornell University, Dr. Cheslock’s area of research focuses on the economics of higher education with a special interest in tuition and financial aid policy, faculty labor markets, the role of Title IX in intercollegiate athletics, and revenue stratification across institutions. His scholarly research, along with his work for the Women’s Sports Foundation, has been instrumental in the policy decisions around sport participation and sponsorship. His research includes Gender Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics: Determinants of Title IX Compliance and Institutional Strategies to Achieve Gender Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics: Does Title IX Harm Male Athletes?
  • Tim Curley, Director of Athletics,Pennsylvania State UniversityAfter receiving both of his degrees from Penn State, Tim Curley is currently serving in his sixteenth year as the Athletic Director for the Pennsylvania State University. In addition to running one of the most successful athletic departments in the country, Mr. Curley is a member of the NCAA Committee on Academic Performance (CAP) and on the Board of Directors of the Honda Collegiate Women Sports Awards. He has also served as the former president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) in 2005-06 and is appointed to a special NCAA task force on Division I recruiting bylaws and to the NCAA Division I Football Issues Committee, a group which he chaired. He previously was a member of the NCAA Division I Championships / Competition Cabinet and served as chair of the NCAA Postseason Bowl Certification Subcommittee.

11:15 – 12:45 p.m. Financial challenges in intercollegiate athletics: New strategies for fiscal responsibility in the changing landscape in higher education and intercollegiate athletics.

In this session, experts in higher education, athletics and tax law will discuss the current financial conditions in Division I college athletics programs that require cost containment and reduction strategies. They will outline new strategies and areas to be considered and discuss lessons learned from prior failed efforts.


  • John Colombo, Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Professor, University of Illinois College of Law; Author, “The NCAA, Tax Exemption, and College Athletics,” University of Illinois Law Review (forthcoming)Professor Colombo received his J.D. degree summa cum laude from the University of Illinois. He is an expert in tax law and his major research interest and writing are in the area of tax-exempt organizations. He has written numerous articles on tax exemption theory, on the exemption standards for nonprofit hospitals and on commercial activity by nonprofit organizations.  His article, “The NCAA, Tax Exemption, and College Athletics,” will be published by the University of Illinois Law Review.  In 2005, Professor Colombo twice testified before the full House Ways and Means Committee in Washington, D.C., providing overviews of the legal rules for tax exemption under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code and the rules for exemption of nonprofit hospitals. He is a member of the American Law Institute, Georgia State Bar Association and American Bar Association.
  • Andy Geiger, Former athletics director, Ohio State University; University of Maryland; and Stanford UniversityAndy Geiger’s career as an athletics director spans a total of 35 years with stints at Brown University, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, the University of Maryland, and the Ohio State University.  Geiger retired as athletics director at Ohio State in 2005 after serving as athletics director there for 11 years.  Geiger continues to provide management expertise to universities as a consultant.  Prior to joining Ohio State in 1994, he led the University of Maryland, College Park program following an 11-year tenure as the athletics director at Stanford.  During his extensive career, Geiger served in leadership roles on numerous NCAA committees, including a special committee charged with reducing athletics costs.
  • Robert Zemsky, Chair, The Learning Alliance for Higher Education; Founding director of the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Research on Higher Education; Co-author of Remaking the American University: Market-Smart & Mission-CenteredDr. Zemsky received his Ph.D. in History from Yale University and is the founding director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Research on Higher Education. Dr. Zemsky is an expert in the fields of higher education policy analysis and reform along with the college choice process. The research for which he is best known has centered on how colleges and universities, in a world increasingly dominated by market forces, can be both mission-centered and market-smart. His writings have regularly appeared in Policy Perspectives and in a series of pioneering articles and analyses in Change. Dr. Zemsky currently serves as chair of The Learning Alliance for Higher Education, a major experiment in bringing just-in-time strategic expertise to college and university presidents. In 1998, Change named him as one of higher education’s top 40 leaders for his role as an agenda-setter.