Knight Commission to Highlight Inequities in Division I Revenue Distribution at Second Virtual Forum

[Session will feature former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and findings from a new analysis]

To register, click here. Space is limited, so register now.

Transforming the NCAA D-I Model: Session 2 - A New Analysis of the D-I Revenue Distribution Formula Inequities

On Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics will hold the second virtual forum of its four-part series on the NCAA Division I model and the need for reform. This 60-minute forum, A New Analysis of the D-I Revenue Distribution Formula Inequities, will examine the financial distributions from Division I’s two marquee events: the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and the FBS College Football Playoff.

These two postseason championships send more than $1 billion in revenues back to Division I athletics programs. The webinar will explain both the formulas used to determine how much money schools receive and offer recommendations for major changes.

At the forum, the Knight Commission will release new findings from a Clifton Larson Allen (CLA) analysis, showing how the NCAA formula to distribute over half a billion dollars from the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is weighted to disproportionately reward FBS football schools, even though the NCAA doesn’t receive any revenues from FBS football. Unlike all other NCAA sports, FBS football is counted as an NCAA sport for membership and revenue distribution purposes despite not meeting the criteria that the NCAA conduct the sport’s postseason championship in order to count for such purposes. Being considered an NCAA sport brings important benefits from the NCAA, which handles all national operational costs like player eligibility, health and safety, legal, and insurance.

The current revenue distribution formula was created in 1991, in a far different era for college sports, and hasn’t significantly evolved over the past three decades, other than the NCAA’s adoption of a Knight Commission proposal in 2016 to reward schools whose sports teams meet graduation benchmarks.

Following the presentations, there will be an audience Q&A with Knight Commission leadership and presenters.

This seminar will be followed by two others this fall: What D-I Leaders Think: New Survey Findings about Reform (Oct. 13); and Recommendations for Change (date TBA). All sessions will be held from 1-2 p.m. ET. The Commission launched a major re-examination of college sports last December, announcing then it would explore new models to restructure Division I sports.


Virtual meeting, A New Analysis of the D-I Revenue Distribution Formula Inequities, featuring Arne Duncan, Knight Commission Co-Chair and former U.S. Secretary of Education, and members Len Elmore, former NBA and NCAA basketball standout, and Penelope Kyle, president emeritus, Radford University. This is the second forum of the Knight Commission’s fall examination, Transforming the NCAA D-I Model: A 4-Part Series.


Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, 1-2 p.m. ET.


Online. To register, click here. Space is limited, so register now.


Follow @KnightAthletics on Twitter and Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics on LinkedIn.


  • WATCH the first forum in the series, titled Follow the Money: Breaking Down D-I Finances, which can be viewed here.
  • Read our MarketWatch Opinion piece on: The Coming COVID-19 Transformation of College Sports.
  • Background information, recommendations and resources on future changes to allow college athletes to earn money from the use of their name, image and likeness can be found here.

About the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics

The Knight Commission was formed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in October 1989 to promote reforms that lead transformational change to prioritize college athletes’ education, health, safety and success. To preserve the Commission’s independence, the foundation continues to be its sole supporter, but does not control, or attempt to control, the Commission’s opinions or pronouncements. 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 at least 50 percent of their players to be eligible for postseason competition. The Commission provides financial data about Division I college sports to enhance financial transparency and accountability. For more, visit

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