Knight Commission Announces C.A.R.E. Model Conference Grants for Division I Conferences

The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics announces the launch of a C.A.R.E. Model Conference Grant program, providing grants from a pool of $100,000 in 2024 to Division I Conferences that implement the C.A.R.E. Model principles for their distribution and use of “shared athletics revenues.” The Knight Commission’s C.A.R.E. Model provides an important and essential shift to restructure financial distributions to provide substantially more support for college athletes’ education, health, gender equity, and athletic opportunities. 

While the C.A.R.E. model allows conferences considerable flexibility in reshaping the distribution of shared athletics revenues, the model contains four* universal principles and requirements: 

1.     Transparency
2.     Independent Oversight
3.     Incentives for Core Values of Education, Gender Equity, and Opportunity
4.     Financial Responsibility for Education, Health, Safety, and Well-Being
*[These principles were updated in Dec. 2023]

“Shared athletics revenues” are revenues generated through national and conference championships and media rights and that are shared among conference member institutions. These Division I shared athletics revenues are large and projected to grow rapidly in the next decade—from more than $3.5 billion annually today to more than $8 billion annually by 2032, with more than $1 billion in new revenue annually from the expanded College Football Playoff alone.  

The C.A.R.E. Model framework is outlined in the Knight Commission’s September 2021 report, Connecting Athletics Revenues with the Educational Model of College Sports (C.A.R.E. Model). The report spells out a new financial framework to embed the core principles in both the distribution criteria and uses of shared athletics revenues. This new framework would bolster accountability to ensure more new revenue is redirected toward college athletes’ education, health, safety, wellbeing, and equity.

The Knight Commission has created a C.A.R.E. Model template for Division I Conferences to guide compliance efforts with the C.A.R.E. Model principles. 

Conferences can use a C.A.R.E. Model Conference Grant to implement the C.A.R.E. Model principles and to educate institutions, athletics administrators, and other stakeholders about the impact of embedding these education-based values in the distribution and use of shared athletics revenues. The Grant amount could vary by conference depending on the proposed plan to implement the principles. The application process for the C.A.R.E. Model Conference Grants will open in January 2024 and close on April 15, 2024. 

For more information, contact Sandy Hatfield Clubb, Managing Director for Strategic Initiatives, at or 515.208.0626.

About the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics
The Knight Commission, founded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in 1989, is an independent group that leads transformational change to prioritize college athletes’ education, health, safety, and success. Knight Foundation has been its sole funder to ensure its independence. For more information about the Commission’s impact, recommendations, and reports, visit

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit