The Knight Commission applauds the vote by NCAA member colleges and universities to add five independent directors to the NCAA’s highest governing board. The Commission first recommended in 2013 that the NCAA take this step, and it reiterated and expanded this recommendation last year in response to the men’s basketball scandal – urging that both the NCAA governing board and the Division I Board of Directors ultimately have a majority of independent directors. Today’s vote ensures that the association’s governing board will implement a good governance practice followed by corporate and non-profit boards. The Commission urges the NCAA to select directors with a wide diversity of backgrounds and experiences, as well as sensitivity to issues important to all three NCAA subdivisions.
Statement from Knight Commission Co-Chair Carol Cartwright:
“As a former member of the NCAA’s highest governing board, I believe adding independent directors will improve governance for all of college sports. Too often, NCAA governing boards have looked out for what’s best for the conferences and institutions they represent, rather than independently and objectively assessing what’s best for intercollegiate athletics and student-athletes.”
Statement from Knight Commission Co-Chair Arne Duncan:
“The addition of five independent directors to the NCAA’s highest governing board is a critical first step toward shifting the NCAA model from a membership association—one with inevitable conflicts of interest—to acting more as a leadership organization capable of propelling real change. But the NCAA must go further in transforming its governance. It should add independent directors to the Division I Board of Directors, and both boards ultimately should have a majority of independent directors. The College Football Playoff should follow the NCAA’s lead by including independent directors as well as a student-athlete on its board of managers.”
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