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Research, Polls & White Papers

Athletic and Academic Spending Database for NCAA Division I
The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics released its Athletic and Academic Spending Database for NCAA Division I to provide greater transparency for athletics finances and better measures to compare trends in academic and athletic spending.  The user-friendly spending database provides unprecedented access to academic, athletic and football spending data, from a range of sources, for more than 220 public Division I institutions.

cs101-thumbnailCollege Sports 101: A Primer on Money, Athletics, and Higher Education in the 21st Century
This report offers an overview of the business and economic landscape of intercollegiate athletics, with a particular focus on the Football Bowl Subdivision, the top competitive tier of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. It is designed to help policymakers, academic leaders, and other interested parties understand both the economic forces that shape decision making in athletics and the financial consequences of those decisions for higher education as a whole. It also is intended to provide background and context as the Knight Commission considers solutions to the problems.

Presidential Survey on the Cost and Financing of Intercollegiate Athletics. July 2009.
The survey reports the views of presidents for the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) universities on the costs and financing of intercollegiate athletics. The findings are based on 95 quantitative telephone interviews and 22 qualitative follow-up telephone interviews with presidents. The quantitative component achieved an 80 percent completion rate. The study was conducted by Art & Science Group of Baltimore, MD, from March to July 2009. For Report Appendices, link here.

Executive Summary of Faculty Perceptions of Intercollegiate Athletics Survey. October, 2007.
In a national survey of more than 2,000 faculty members at universities with the country’s most visible athletic programs, a striking number of professors say they don’t know about and are disconnected from issues facing college sports. More than a third say they don’t know about many athletics program policies and practices, including the financial underpinnings of their campuses’ athletics programs. Furthermore, more than a third have no opinion about concerns raised by national faculty athletics reform groups. ...

Faculty Perceptions of Intercollegiate Athletics
The main goal of the Faculty Perceptions of Intercollegiate Athletics Survey is to examine professors’ beliefs about and satisfaction with intercollegiate athletics. The investigation also identifies faculty members’ primary concerns about intercollegiate athletics and gathers preliminary data on whether they would join campus-based initiatives aimed at ameliorating these concerns. Further, the survey assesses whether professors think such activities would lead to meaningful change on their campus...

Public Opinion Poll, Jan. 2006.
The Census-balanced and representative telephone poll of 502 adults among adults 18 years of age and older was conducted in December 2005 for the commission by Widmeyer Research and Polling of Washington, D.C. The margin of error for the poll is +/- 4.4%. Poll findings suggest the following:
Americans believe college sports are like professional sports.

Public Opinion Poll, Dec. 2005.
A recent Census-balanced and representative telephone poll among 502 American adults completed in late December 2005 for the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics by Widmeyer Research and Polling of Washington, DC found that: Americans say the NCAA should “stay the course but remain diligent.” ...

Challenging the Myth: A Review of the Links Among College Athletic Success, Student Quality and Donations
An integrative review of the economic literature on intercollegiate athletics by Cornell University economist Robert Frank. May 2004.

Executive Summary of Division I-A Postseason History and Analysis
The summary of discusses the proposed changes to the Division I-A postseason fooball system being discussed in Spring 2004 and designed to remedy some of its current problems. It emphasizes that the lack of a governing authority able to consider and address all the key issues – business, educational, and political – is a material weakness. The report does not offer specific solutions, but focuses on facts and data for stakeholders’ reference when considering what is “arguably the most visible face of higher education to the U.S. public at large.”

Division I-A Postseason History and Analysis
John Sandbrook’s 2004 report, “Division I-A Postseason Football History and Status,” prepared at the request of the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, offers a comprehensive examination of Division I-A postseason football, from the historical roots of bowl games as civic events designed to promote tourism to today’s environment where games are viewed primarily as television properties. The report provides supporting data for critical aspects of the bowl system and its participating institutions, including scheduling information compared to the academic calendar, television and sponsorship arrangements, financial results, and the distribution of participation opportunities by each Division I-A conference and institution. The report examines the overwhelming role economic factors continue to play in every facet of the bowl system, including the critical issue of its governance and the negotiation and administration of its largest revenue factor – television rights – as separate properties rather than as a consolidated package or sets of packages.