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Knight Commission Criticizes Commercialization of College Athletes in Fantasy Sports, New Media

[Sessions and audio with experts on commercialism and athletes' rights in college sports; impact of the media on college sports; fantasy sports; and reporting of financial data ]

The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics met on October 27 to discuss the emerging conflict between new forms of media and long-standing NCAA rules designed to protect athletes from commercial exploitation. The Commission also announced it would pursue a year-long series of meetings and research on the economics of college sports, with a particular focus on why expenses are rising faster than revenues at virtually all Division I athletics programs.

Knight Commission Calls on NCAA to Shorten Basketball Season

[Sessions and audio with experts and researchers on academic performance in men's basketball; and NCAA infractions]

The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics held discussions on academic reform, potential changes in the basketball playing season, and changes to penalties for violating National Collegiate Athletic Association rules. The Commission called on the NCAA to shorten the season to reduce the number of missed classes and stress on players. It also commended the association’s academic performance program, but noted that a complex waiver process is threatening to weaken standards designed to hold programs responsible for the academic progress of their players.

Faculty Summit on Intercollegiate Athletics

[Sessions and video with faculty on athletics issues; faculty governance; academic integrity; and strategies ]

The summit included a presentation of findings from the Faculty Perceptions of Intercollegiate Athletics Survey. The survey presentation served as the context for panelists and interactive sessions relating to the role of faculty engagement in athletics issues, faculty governance, academic integrity, case studies of athletics crises, and strategies for faculty to consider.

Knight Commission Urges Presidents to Show Strong Support for Academic Reforms

[Sessions and audio with NCAA staff on academic reforms; and fiscal responsibility]

On the heels of the NCAA’s announcement that 112 Division I teams will be penalized for failing to meet minimum academic performance standards, and are aware that tougher times are ahead, the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics strongly urged college presidents to resist pressure to weaken the reforms. The Commission heard and discussed an NCAA report on Division I academic performance standards and also heard Big 12 Commissioner Kevin Weiberg discuss sweeping rules changes addressing academic underperformance by baseball players. Also at the meeting, NCAA officials released financial data showing that only 7 percent (22 of 313) of Division I athletics departments generated more money than they spent when institutional subsidies such as student fees are excluded—contrary to the public perception that athletics departments generate profits for their institutions.

Knight Commission to Meet May 14 to Receive NCAA Reports on Academic and Financial Data and Reforms

William E. “Brit” Kirwan, Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, presides over first meeting as co-chairman; NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti and Northwestern President Henry Bienen join Commission Who: R. Gerald Turner, President of Southern Methodist University and Co-Chairman of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics William E. “Brit” Kirwan, Chancellor, University System

Knight Commission Meeting

[Sessions and audio with scholars and experts on gender equity in college sports; influences on recruiting athletes; and the role of academics in recruiting athletes]

The session reviewed the state of gender equity in intercollegiate athletics, 35 years after the passage of Title IX; the recruiting environment and process and whether its current state is healthy for prospects, coaches, and institutions; and, academic values in the recruiting process.