The Fayetteville Observer recently published an article featuring the career of Amy Perko, executive director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. Perko will be receiving a Silver Anniversary Award from the NCAA in January. As part of the article, the Observer included discussion about the past, current, and future role of the Knight Commission. This part of the article is featured below:
The Knight Commission, which is comprised of university administrators and a handful of other prominent former college athletes, was formed in 1989 after a series of high-profile scandals. It’s not part of the NCAA and doesn’t actually make policy. Instead it’s a watchdog group, studying problems and pushing for action.
In its past, it’s fought for stricter academic standards, more university control over the NCAA and a more sustainable financial structure for college sports.
Originally, the group’s findings were met with widespread resistance from those inside college athletics. By the time Amy Perko became involved, mainstream thinking had gradually shifted in the commission’s direction, but most of its recommended reforms hadn’t been implemented.
Since then, Perko said there have been advances, citing the NCAA’s adoption of a rule tying graduation statistics to participation in postseason play. She said that particular reform was the product of years of work by the commission.
But a key factor in it becoming policy was the media’s coverage of troubling data regarding the academic performance of athletes in big-time sports. The negative attention was crucial to spurring the NCAA into action.
“The commission felt like that was a major policy victory,” Perko said. “When you’re working on policies you have to put things out there and put things on the table. Sometimes it’s not going to be adopted until there’s a moment of crisis.”
If moments of crisis are helpful when it comes to the passage of reforms, college athletics appears ready for change. From major violations in North Carolina’s football program to a cover-up at Penn State that brought down legendary coach Joe Paterno, it’s been a rough year for college athletics. It’s also created an environment that will likely be more receptive to the commission’s message.
“It’s unfortunate that it takes negative events to be the catalyst for change, but sometimes that’s just the reality,” Perko said. “Sometimes it takes external factors.”
For the complete article, link here.