Balancing the Power in College Sports: The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics: John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 1989

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (Duke)



Case Study Sector


As the 1980s came to a close, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was facing a crisis. More than a decade of dramatic, highly visible scandals in intercollegiate athletics had shaken the public trust in college sports. Widespread recruiting violations, payments to players, student gambling, drug use and point-shaving incidents revealed a dark side of the college athletics world.
In early 1988, Creed Black, a Knight-Ridder executive and former publisher of the Lexington Herald-Leader, became president of the Knight Foundation. In March 1989, the Foundation commissioned a public survey which assessed public sentiment on the state of intercollegiate sports. Six months later, the Foundation created the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, a panel of distinguished community leaders from the academic, business, and sports communities, to study and propose reforms for college sports.
The Commission’s founding co-chairmen, former presidents Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh of Notre Dame and William C. Friday of the University of North Carolina system, were highly respected higher education leaders whose universities had storied athletics programs. After months of anticipation, the Commission released its first report, Keeping Faith with the Student-Athlete, in March 1991. . . .



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