In its 1991 report, the Commission identified three principles that must be present in the one-plus-three model: academic integrity, fiscal integrity and accountability. These three sides of the reform triangle reinforce each other and can only be realized through presidential leadership. Academic Integrity is the first principle. The Commission said: “The first consideration on a university campus must be academic integrity. The fundamental premise must be that athletes are students as well. They should not be considered for enrollment at a college or university unless they give reasonable promise of being successful at that institution in a course of study leading to an academic degree. Student-athletes should undertake the same courses of study offered to other students and graduate in the same proportion as those who spend comparable time as full-time students. Their academic performance should be measured by the same criteria applied to other students.”
Progress toward ensuring that athletes are students first and earning credits toward graduation has been substantial. As a result of recommendations made by the Knight Commission in A Call to Action, landmark NCAA legislation was adopted in 2004 that links teams’ – not just athletes’ – participation in postseason championships with their academic performance.