Challenge Grants for Achieving Racial Equity in College Sports

The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics issued a call for proposals for research grants to advance the goals in its Achieving Racial Equity in College Sports” report. In the report, the Commission called on universities, athletics conferences, the College Football Playoff (CFP) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to take decisive action to address policies and practices that create barriers to the success of Black college athletes. 

To achieve the equity goals highlighted in the report, the Knight Commission is offering $100,000 in multi-year Challenge grants to fund collaborative research that demonstrates how specific interventions impact the Black athlete experience and/or Black athlete advocacy areas. Also, the research should be conducted as a partnership between researchers and athletics administrators at the campus, conference or national association levels. 

Researchers are encouraged to submit proposals using the guidelines outlined in the Call for Proposals. Proposals will be judged based on their ability to advance research in the areas of Black athlete experience and/or Black athlete advocacy, demonstrated partnership with college athletics program(s), clarity, feasibility, and potential impact. 

For questions on the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics Challenge Grant, please review the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ Document). If your question is not answered in the document, please contact Dr. Christopher Brown at

Question and Answer – Teleconference 

The Knight Commission will host a teleconference call on September 15, 2021, at 1:00 pm EST to discuss the Challenge Grant process and answer questions for applicants. To register for the teleconference email 


August 26, 2021 – Application opens on 

September 15, 2021– Q&A teleconference call

October 22, 2021 – Application deadline

November 15, 2021 – Notifications of receipt of grant funding will be sent out.

December 1, 2021 – First round of funds to be distributed

TBD – Presentation on research findings to the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics


October 24, 2016 – Knight Commission Announces Spending Database Challenge Awards

Four research projects were recently completed with support from challenge awards provided by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics to encourage use of its NCAA Division I Athletics & Academic Spending Database ( The Knight Commission does not take a position on the findings produced by the research.

October 9, 2012 – Research: Shaping policy and practice in intercollegiate athletics

The Knight Commission awarded grants totaling $100,000 to six research projects focused on policy and practice in intercollegiate athletics—building on the Commission’s legacy as a change agent to enhance the ability of sports programs to benefit both students and institutions. The grants went to a combination of established scholars and new voices in the fast-growing area of sport policy, embracing practitioners and scholars of both higher education and sport management.