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July 25, 2005 - Amy Perko Succeeds Maureen Devlin as Executive Director Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics

Welch Suggs joins Commission as associate director

Amy PerkoMiami — Maureen Devlin, who has been with the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics since its founding in 1989, has stepped down as executive director but will remain involved with the Knight Commission’s work as a consultant. Succeeding her is Amy Privette Perko, a former college basketball star who has spent her career working in the field of college athletics.

From the outset, Devlin worked with the Knight Commission’s leadership and members and the staff of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to pursue a reform agenda in response to more than a decade of highly visible scandals in college sports. She played a key role in shaping the Commission’s agenda and in the development of the Knight Commission’s reports including the 2001 A Call to Action.  Devlin is stepping down from the Commission to focus on her position as associate director of the Forum for the Future of Higher Education, a research think tank at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Perko joined the Knight Commission as associate director in 2003. A member of the Wake Forest University Hall of Fame and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate, Perko has worked at the National Basketball Association, the University of Kansas athletics program and the NCAA.

“We are very grateful to Maureen for her passionate stewardship of the Knight Commission and her able assistance to its chairs and members,” said Commission Chair Thomas K. Hearn Jr., president emeritus at Wake Forest University. “We will miss her, but we are pleased that Amy Perko is able to step in. Her commitment to college athletics will serve her and the Knight Commission well.” 

At the NBA, Perko was president of one of the association’s men’s basketball development teams, the Fayetteville Patriots. Prior to that, she served as associate athletics director at the University of Kansas, where she oversaw the administration of seven men’s and women’s sports as well as other operational and business units. Perko also spent six years with the NCAA, starting as a legislative assistant before working as an enforcement representative.

As a member of Wake Forest University’s women’s basketball team, Perko was named to the Academic All-America team three times and earned All-ACC honors twice. She was named the university’s female athlete of the year in 1987. She was inducted into the Wake Forest Hall of Fame in 2000, and was honored as a Legend of ACC Women’s Basketball in 2005. Perko holds a master’s degree from the University of Richmond.

Working with Perko will be Welch Suggs, who comes to the Knight Commission as associate director with 15 years of experience in intercollegiate athletics and expertise in higher education as an editor and reporter at The Chronicle of Higher Education, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal and The Kansas City Star. The author of A Place on the Team: The Triumph and Tragedy of Title IX (Princeton University Press, 2005), he is a frequent lecturer on college sports and women’s athletics. A 1995 graduate of Rhodes College, Suggs was a four-time conference champion in track and field and a three-time all-conference selection in cross-country. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in higher education policy at the University of Georgia.

Devlin graduated cum laude in government from Harvard University, with seven varsity letters. She received a master’s degree in sports administration from Pennsylvania State University, where she coached women’s track and cross-country. She spent two years working at the NCAA’s national office before joining the Knight Commission. 

The Knight Commission’s next meeting is Nov. 8, 2005 at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, D.C.

About the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics

The Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics was formed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in October 1989 in response to more than a decade of highly visible scandals in college sports. The goal of the Commission was to recommend a reform agenda that emphasized academic values in an arena where commercialization of college sports often overshadowed the underlying goals of higher education. The Commission, which presented a series of recommendations in a 1991 report, and A Call to Action in 2001, will continue to monitor and report on progress in increasing presidential control, academic integrity, financial integrity and independent certification of athletics programs. 

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities.