Knight Commission Ignites Conversation Over College Athletics Spending

Over 40 media outlets published original stories about the new report from the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, released Thursday at the Freedom Forum in Washington, D.C. “Restoring the Balance: Dollars, Values, and the Future of College Sports” warns of accelerating spending on college sports and potential threats to college and university finances. The Commission calls for greater transparency on spending in college sports; new policies for distributing television revenue that value academic performance; and ensuring that college athletes are treated as students, not as professional athletes.

According to The New York Times, “The recommendation… provided a’kind of counterpoint to the seismic tremors that have’shaken the college sports landscape in recent’weeks, moves prompted largely by debates over who should get what share of millions of dollars in’television revenue, and why. ‘As Nebraska, Colorado and Utah have announced plans to switch’conferences ‘ and as others have contemplated following suit ‘ the discussion has centered on wins’and losses, television markets and brand image.

“Placing a larger emphasis on academic performance was one of several ideas proposed by the’commission’in a report aimed at encouraging colleges’and universities to take a collective deep breath’and slow the rate of spending on athletics.”

From the Los Angeles Times:'”There must be a bright line between college and professional sports,” said Len Elmore, a commission member and former pro basketball player. “We’re’not saying that there cannot be an investment in sports, we’re saying the investment needs to be put in perspective.”

From the Louisville Courier-Journal: “It’s an important message. At least someone is issuing the warning, and clearly. But when the organization overseeing the whole thing, the NCAA, is as rabid in’its pursuit of revenue as any Fortune 500 company, this escalation isn’t going to stop.

“I applaud the Knight Commission for trying to inject a note of sanity into this. But I’m afraid they’re trying to close the barn door after Bevo is already out grazing’in the field. And that green in his mouth isn’t grass. And he’s not alone.”

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