Knight Commission Proposal That Academic Performance be Considered in Football Playoff Revenue Distribution Gains Traction

Several media outlets have reported that academic performance may be a considered in dividing future revenue expected from a new football media contract in 2014, when a four-team playoff will be introduced.

Inside Higher Ed reported that “William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland and co-chair of the Knight Commission, has argued that rather than postseason revenue going to the institutions and conferences with the strongest football programs, it should be directed to those with the highest graduation rates.

‘This really is a moment of opportunity for moving back in the direction of the priorities we all claim to hold when it comes to intercollegiate athletics,’ Kirwan told Inside Higher Ed last month. ‘It’s really going to push us further toward the precipice if we just do business as usual.’ ”

USA Today reported on comments from a BCS official, who said there’s also “serious talk” about basing some payouts on teams’ NCAA-computed Academic Progress Rates. The article stated: “The watchdog Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics has endorsed that notion, and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany told reporters last week ‘it ought to be considered.'”

The Coloradan published an article about the potential revenue impact to Colorado State University and other institutions if the Knight Commission proposal tying a portion of playoff revenues to a school’s graduation success rate for football was adopted. Colorado State University athletic director Jack Graham stated, “It’s no different than in any other business. If you reward academic success financially, you’re going to get a much better result for the student-athletes across the country. I’m very encouraged by that and hopeful that we might see an outcome that produces that kind of a reward system.”

According to the paper, Mountain West athletic conference commissioner Craig Thompson told the Coloradan that “he’ll push the Knight Commission proposal given it would benefit the Mountain West as a whole. ‘The bottom line is the Mountain West feels very strongly that there should be an academic component in all this,’ Thompson said…”