Knight Commission to Examine the Impact of Changes to College Athlete Image Rights and Other Regulatory Issues

Discussion to include consideration of O’Bannon ruling and effects of other legal challenges to current college sports model

Who: The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, co-chaired by William E. “Brit” Kirwan, chancellor, University System of Maryland, and R. Gerald Turner, president, Southern Methodist University, will be joined by experts in public policy, economics, and antitrust law. This will be the first meeting for new members Walter Harrison, president, University of Hartford; Penelope Kyle, president, Radford University; and Nancy Zimpher, chancellor, State University of New York.

What: The Knight Commission continues its public examination of important policy issues involving college sports, including effects of recent litigation on the current model of college sports. Expert panelists will discuss the impact of possible changes that might compensate athletes for their image rights. Legal experts will discuss suggestions for new regulatory approaches, including an antitrust exemption for the NCAA. See agenda below for more information.

When: Tuesday, May 19, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT. Media will have an opportunity to interview and speak with presenters and Commission co-chairmen at the conclusion of the public session.

Where: Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center in the Leavey Center, 3800 Reservoir Road, Washington, D.C. (Salons DEF). Media work room will be available from 9 – 5 p.m. in Conference Room 4.

Attend: Sessions are open to the media and public. To RSVP for the meeting, contact Hadley Dreibelbis, Widmeyer Communications,, 202.667.0901

Follow: Follow @KnightAthletics for the latest developments from this meeting. Photographs and highlights from the meeting will be posted on following the event.

Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics: Public Meeting Agenda (Salons DEF)

  • 9:00 – 10:45 a.m.
    Examining the implications of the O’Bannon ruling and related issues affecting college athletes’ image rights not addressed in the ruling This session will examine how universities, conferences and the NCAA are preparing to address the impact of the O’Bannon vs. NCAA court ruling and related issues. Panelists:

    • Doug Allen, professor of practice in labor and employment relations, Pennsylvania State University; former assistant executive director, NFLPA and former executive director, Screen Actors Guild
    • Kevin Lennon, vice president, NCAA
    • Kendall Spencer, chair, NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee; former track athlete, University of New Mexico
    • A.L. (Lorry) Spitzer, partner, Ropes & Gray
    • Jack Swarbrick, vice president and director of athletics, University of Notre Dame
    • Andrew Zimbalist, professor of economics, Smith College
  • 10:45 – 11:00 a.m. Break
  • 11:00 – 12:30 p.m.
    Responding to Change: Alternative Regulatory Systems for College Sports Legal and policy experts examine the long-range impact of legal challenges to the current Division I structure and the changing landscape both for college sports and universities, and offer suggestions for new approaches, including an antitrust exemption for the NCAA. Panelists:

    • Jeffrey Blattner, Legal Policy Solutions, PLLC; former deputy assistant attorney general for the antitrust division, U.S. Department of Justice
    • Ronald Katz, senior counsel, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips; board chair, Santa Clara Institute of Sports Law and Ethics
    • Matthew Mitten, co-author, “A Regulatory Solution to Better Promote the Educational Values and Economic Sustainability of
      Intercollegiate Athletics;” professor of law and director, National Sports Law Institute, Marquette University Law School
    • Brian Porto, author, “The Supreme Court and the NCAA;” professor, Vermont Law School
  • 12:30 p.m. Public Sessions conclude

About the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics
The Knight Commission was formed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in October 1989 in response to highly visible scandals in college sports. The Commission’s goal is to promote a reform agenda that emphasizes the educational mission of college sports. Over the years, the NCAA has adopted a number of the Commission’s recommendations including the rule that requires teams to be on track to graduate more than 50 percent of their players in order to be eligible for postseason competition. The Commission’s Athletic and Academic Spending Database provides financial data for more than 220 public Division I institutions to provide greater financial transparency on athletics spending.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit