The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Silver Anniversary Award winners Amy Perko and David Robinson. Credit: NCAA Photos
The NCAA recently honored Knight Commission’s Amy Perko and former NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson for their professional and civic contributions that followed their time as college athletes.
Presented during the NCAA’s annual week-long convention, the Silver Anniversary Award recognizes six distinguished former student-athletes on their 25th anniversary as college graduates.
Perko, a former Wake Forest basketball player, was recognized in part for her efforts serving as the executive director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.
The commission, which Knight Foundation established in 1989, works to ensure that intercollegiate athletics programs operate within the educational mission of their colleges and universities.
Robinson is co-founder of The Admiral Center, which helps athletes and celebrities use their resources to give back to their communities. The Admiral Center is an initiative of Living Cities and is supported by Knight Foundation.
During the convention, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan delivered the keynote address, which focused on recent progress made by the NCAA on issues related to academic reforms. The reforms include the adoption of a Knight Commission proposal that will require teams to be on track to graduate at least 50 percent of their players to be eligible for post-season championships.
Duncan’s speech, titled "Time to Bring Your "A" Game—in Academics and Athletics," also promoted another Knight Commission proposal to change the revenue distribution formulas for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and football’s Bowl Championship Series so that educational values are considered in allocating hundreds of millions in revenues.
Reflecting on the event, Perko said:
“I was extremely humbled and honored to accept what I’ve acknowledged as the ‘Knight Commission’s team award.’ When Creed Black [editor and newspaper publisher and the former president of Knight Foundation] founded the Knight Commission in 1989, he had a vision that this independent group of leaders could create and promote reforms to transform college sports. My selection for this award speaks volumes about the respect and appreciation higher education leaders associated with the NCAA and its member institutions have for the commission’s efforts.”
Perko also said she was pleased that Elsa Black, Creed Black’s widow, was at the ceremony so that she “was able to see first-hand the respect for the commission’s work.”