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(Tuesday. June 12, 11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.)


Last year, the Knight Foundation created the Knight Foundation Commissionon Intercollegiate Athletics with a mandate to develop a reform agenda for college sports. Fr. Theodore Hesburgh,the former president of the University of Notre Dame, and Bill Friday, the former president of the University of North Carolina System, were chosen to chair the Commission. We're fortunate, today, to have representation from the Knight Commission to bring all of us up-to-date on what is transpiring with that Commission. In your program, it indicates that Bill Friday would be with us. He had a late conflict and is not here, but, we do have with us today, Creed Black, who is president of the Knight Foundation and Kit Morris, who is the full-time staff director of the Knight Foundation to bring us up-to-date. As you know, Dick Schultz is a member of this Commission and Dick has been kind enough to agree to be with us and be a part of the question and answer period which Judy Sweet will moderate after hearing the remarks from Creed Blackand Kit Morris.

Creed Black began his newspaper career at the age of 17 in his home town in Kentucky with the Peduka Sun Democrat. Since that time, he's had a very distinguished career. He is a graduate of the school of journalism at Northwestern University and received an MA in Science at the University of Chicago in 1952. During his career, he has worked as an editorial writer and executive editor of the ~ville Tennesseeian, vice president and executive editor of the Savannah Morning News and Evenin~ Press, vice president and executive editor of the Wilmington, Delaware~rnin~ News and Evenin~ Journal, ~~naging editor and executive editor of the ChicMO Daily News. He became vice president and editor of The Philadelphia Enquirer in 1970, following an 16-month period in Washington as assistant secretary for legislation for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He was named chairman and publisher of the Lexington Herald Leader Company in March of 1977. He became president of the Knight Foundation February I, 1966. He is a former president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers, the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Southern Newspapers Publishers Association. He has served as a Pulitzer jouror five times. Creed, I certainly appreciate and I know all of these people do, your ~lillingness to replace Bill Friday on our program and your involvement with the Knight Commission. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the president of the Knight Foundation, Mr. Creed Black.


Thank you very much, John. It's a pleasure to be here with you. I'm sorry that Bill Friday couldn't be. He is really the one who got me into this job and this Commission. I've spent most of my life in the newspaper business, so this business of being a foundation president and giving away money is a new experience to me, but I'm enjoying it greatly. I look forward to the opportunity to go out and make speeches. One of my predecessors in this business, the former president of the Rockefeller Foundation, said that ~,hen you become president of a major foundation, you've had your last bad meal and your last honest conversation. That's quite a contrast for a newspaper man because, as you know, if we're doing our jobs at all, we usually have about half of the people mad at us. It's taken me most of the two years I've been in the Foundation world to get used to the notion that now, everybody loves me.

I know from my newspaper days that we're dealing with a topic this morning that is super charged and brings out a lot of emotion. I l-las publisher of the Lexin~ton Herald Leader. At that time, we ran a series on the rather serious irregularities in the basketball program at the University of Kentucky. It produced my favorite piece of fan mail. It came from a woman fan of the t~ Wildcats who wrote us and said, "may the set from a million pole cats fall upon your press room and linger there through eternity." That's one of the reasons I left the newspaper business.

I want to take a few minutes this morning to try to answer three questions for you. First of all, who are these guys? Who is the Knight Foundation and what are they doing messing around with college athletics?" The second question, now that we have this Commission, what are we doing with it? And, the third question is, what does this all mean to you?

The Knight Foundation is 40-years old. It was founded in 1950 in Akron, Ohio by John S. and James L. Knight, who are also the founders of Knight Newspapers, which is now part of the Knight Riter t~ewspaper empire. The Knight Foundation, today with about 30 thousand private foundations in this country, is among the 25 largest. We have assets of almost $600 million and we have the opportunity to give away about $23.5 million this year.

We run four major programs. One, of which, is higher education. We have a program of grants through private liberal arts colleges. We have an advisory committee of five former college and university presidents to help us with that. Bill Friday is one of the members of that committee. fl- little more than a year ago, at one of our meetings in Washington, during a coffee break or lunch, we began talking about some of the problems in college athletics. Bill said he alone felt it was time for a totally independent commission to take a look at this problem. lie felt that the Knight Foundation might do this, or perhaps we might join up with another foundation. The idea appealed to me because I had become convinced during my time in Lexington that much of what was going on in athletics amounted to a major national scandal that went far beyond the football field or the basketball arena. Time M~azine, about a year ago, described it as an obsession with winning and money-making that is perverting the nobelist ideals of both sports and education in America.

When Bill suggested this Commission to me, I spent some time talking further to him and to others about it. I invited Bill to meet with our Board of Directors and describe the problems and talk about what we might do. The Board authorized me to spend the time until our next meeting looking into it further and coming back with a recommendation as to whether we should do this. This was something the Knight Foundation had never done. So, I did. I spent a lot of last summer traveling around the country and talking to people. Our Board approved it in September of last year and we decided to go forward with creating this Commission.

I certainly don't need to catalog to this group what the problems are because you know them well. Maybe you don't know, however, that the problems have attracted so much attention outside the world of athletics that eight out of 10 Americans agreed that; one, intercollegiate sports are out of control; two, the programs are corrupted by big money; three, the many cases of serious rules violatj.ons have undermined the traditional roles of universitjes and colleges as places where young people learn values and ethics. One reason, of course, for this is the very high visibility of intercollegiate athletics. I recognize that we're dealing with a lot of different institutions at different levels and many of them never have any of these problems that attract all of the attention or they are limited to a relatively small number of schools. But, within that number of Division I-A schools, the problems are epidemic.

During the course of my travels last year, I went to Knoxville and talked to Lamar Alexander. I asked him his viewpoint of our Commission. Lamar told me that Harvey Schiller, Commissioner at the time of the SEC, said that he might as well accept the notion that 70 to 80 percent of what the people of Tennessee knew about his university was going to be what they knew about its athletic progra~. They would know either from going to the games, watching them on television, or reading about them in the newspapers. I accept that. What kind of impression does it give them when day-after-day they pick up the papers and read about still another scandal in college athletics. It creates a problem which, I think, is SO serious that it threatens the very integrity of higher education in this country. That's our interest jn it. That's why we're committing two million dollars through this Commission.

We didn't decide to wade into this swamp out of any hostility toward intercollegiate athletics. We have a lot of sports fans on our board and \~e recognize that intercollegiate athletics have a very appropriate and proper role to play in college and university life. What we're trying to do is put that role back into perspective and to strengthen the hands of the people who are trying to attack and correct the problems that are so flagrant. Before we decided to go forward with this last year, I had lunch with Dick Schultz and Al Witty. I wanted to eliminate any notion that we were trying to go into busin Os 00 r ourselves or that we had any interest in setting up any kind of on-going operation that would be a competitor to the NCAA.

We have concentrated on building our Commission around presidents representing universities in the major conferences. Father Hesburgh and Bill Friday had this idea because the problem is so lireited to the big tiree athletics and we needed to get people who are familiar with big time athletics and concentrate on those problems which they know first-hand. You've got to start with presidentia commercialized sports. But, there can be do doubt as to where lies the responsibility to correct this situation. The defense of the intellectual integrity of the college and of the university lies with the president and with the faculty.

With them, also, lies the authority. The responsibility to bring athletics into a sincere relation to the intellectual life of the college rests squarely on the shoulders of the president and the faculty."

So we started a 4-point program. The first is the presidential responsibility and authority. The second is academic integrity, which means you're bringing students into your athletic program who can qualify for your schools, who have a reasonable chance to graduate and who are taking courses leading toward graduation. The third is financial integrity. This means we expect the universities to have control of the money going into and out of their athletic department. Institutional control, a.s you heard earlier this morning. The fourth is certification. There's got to be some process for auditing to make sure that the schools are living up to standards of academic integrity and financial integrity. You've got to audit and certify and you have to have some penalties.

We've been listening. I attended the tJCAA Convention in Dallas this year and I was irepressed during the floor debate on the number of athletic directors who got up and said they felt the Presidents Commission was acting without listening to the athletic directors. They wished they had the chance for some input and not have to fight all of this out on the floor. The Knight Commissiion representatives, athletic directors and football and basketball coaches have another meeting coming up later this month. We're planning a retreat in September to get the group away for 3 days to try to begin to fashion our report. We expect to have this report out next March with our recommendations.

What does all of this mean to you? Early on, after the announcement of our Commission, I had a call from a representative of our magazine who wanted to know a little more about the Commission. He asked, "is this anything that the members of our association need to be concerned about? "My answer was, "not if they're running clean programs." One of the best sessions 14e've had, so far, was with a group representing you. Jack Lengyel acted as the spokesman and we got strong support for the four principles I just outlined to you.

We also got some good suggestions. Altogether, it was a very positive and separating themselves from the president and wanting to go over and live in a world all of their own, should serve on the presidents cabinet. There should be more, not less, communications between the presidents. There should be nlore efforts to involve the president. It's a two-way street. Let the president and the other members of administration know what's going on in the athletic department and vise-versa. Let the athletic directors and the athletic department know what's going on in the rest of the university; even though the athletic department programs may get 70 to 80 percent of public notice, they are not the be-all and end-all of the university.

I hope we can inject more common sense into the intercollegiate athletic enterprise. As the Chronicle Qf Higher Education has already reported, some of the criticism indicates there still might be some people within the NCAA quite content with the status quo. I hope that's not so. But if it is, let me say, I'm confident that anybody who's defending the status quo in intercollegiate athletics in-so-far as the problems of big-time athletics are concerned, is playing a losing game.

The NCAA is under new and very enlightened leadership. The presidents are becoming more involved and more interested. If the education of the establishment itself, both academically and athletically, doesn't make some reforms or make some changes, there are plenty of other people out there willing to do it. !~ot the Knight Foundation. We don't have any authority. You've already seen some federal legislation passed. We've had some repeated inquiries from members of Congress and proposals that they're considering to force the reforms of their own choosing on college athletics. You heard Steve Morgan say that the same thing is happening in state legislature. It's far better that you folks clean up your own house and not let anyone else do it.

Athletic directors should take the lead in the reform movement and not have to be dragged screaming and kicking into it. The train is leaving the station and I hope when it does, you'll be on it. Thank you.


Thank you, Creed, for your very candid remarks. That's very helpful to the group in understanding the origins of this Commission and where it's headed. In November of 1989, Kit Morris was selected to direct the staff of the Knight Foundation Commission. Kit is a gentleman who many of would know and he knows the problems of intercollegiate athletics because he's been an athletic director. Prior to accepting his current position as staff director for the Commission, Kit served as director of athletics at Davidson College. Highlights of his 4 1/2-years tenure there included the construction of a $17 million sports complex and he is generally credited for providing energy and new direction for an overall sports progra~ that was in decline. Kit came to Davidson from Yale where he served under Frank Rayn as associated director of athletics from 1981 to 1985. Before assuming his position at Yale, he \~as assistant to the director of athletics at Harvard, from 1978 until 1981 and during the su~~er of 1981, he was dean of students of Harvard summer school. A 1973 graduate of the University of Mississippi, Kit received the Bachelor of Arts degree with concentration in English, Historyand Education. He also holds a masters degree in Education from Harvard.


Thanks, John. Mr. Black has outlined a brief history and purpose of the Commission. Now, I'd like to tell you a little bit about our work to date. Thus far, the Commission has ~et on four occasjons; January, March, April and May. With the fifth meeting 8cheduled on June 28-29 in Washington, we've undertaken a very ambitious schedule, five meetings in five months. We've enjoyed a rather re~.arkable attendance rate at those meetings approaching 90 percent.

On January 30-31, the Commission held its first meeting. It was at this meeting that the three major fundamentals principles were introduced; academic integrity, fiscal integrity and a system of audit or certification.

Please join me in welcoming Kit t-lorris the staff director of the Knight Commission.

Academic integrity assumes that athletes are students first and are not considered for enrollment unless they give reasonable promise for success. That success being an academic degree and an authentic course of study. Fiscal integrity assumes that no money whatever, from whatever sources, ticket sales, t.v. revenues, or booster club contributions is received or administered outside the control of the president or another top financial officer of the university supervised by the president. Certification requires the appointment of outside auditors to certify on an on-going basis with an annual public audit and report that the fiscal integrity and the academic integrity are being practiced. This is the first necessary step towards beginning to restore the public's confidence in what you do for a living, what we do for a living in the enterprise of college sports. During discussion of these three principles, the importance of presidential authority immerged as another primary theme. So, presidential authority and contrcl with the sport of trustees was added giving us a one-plus-three model for reform.

At this meeting, the Commission agreed unanimously that any effort towards reform that was conceived in a vacuum could not be successful. In subsequent meetings, we've opened the floor to various constituents groups including conference commissioners, athletic directors, faculty reps and football and basketball coaches.

Our second meeting, March 15-16, featured those conference commissioners. We heard the support of the one-plus-three model for reform. We also heard that the belief of the relationship between the president and the AD is pivotal in a successful operation of an athletics department. We heard concerns about what are the appropriate ways for that president to get involved. One commissioner, speaking for the entire group, suggested that a direct reporting relationship between AD and president should be established.

Conference commissioners told us, regarding academic integrity, that time demands on student-athletes are excessive and need to be dealt with at all levels. The dominant theme for fiscal integrity was the institutional funding of athletics. We heard from many of the conference commissioners that the institutional funding for college sports would help alleviate some of the substantial problems that you face on a day-to-day basis.

On April 14-15, we invited a group of faculty representatives and athletic directors. In our session with 16 athletic directors and senior women administrators, we heard an opening statement of agreement with the one-plus-three model. Also, we heard the suggestion that equity be considered as another fundamental principle. This is a suggestion that, I'm sure, the Commission takes seriously and will address in our final report.

A strong consensus was conveyed that ADs, again, should report directly to the presidents of their institutions. The athletic director must have access to the president in order to enhance two-way communication from which both parties would benefit. ADs must also keep lines of communication open with their head coaches and assistant coaches in order to insure the same kind of positive and thorough communication .

Final comments from the ADs was that athletics will never be a part of the educational system until the dependance on outside dollars is relieved by some kind of institutional funding.

On May 14-15, we met with coaches or football and men's and women's basketball. At the end or this month, we'll meet with groups or student-athletes, the commissioner or the t.'FL and the NBA, financial experts in the areas or college sports, representatives from our high schools, both public and private education, members or the media, representatives from the Shoe Manufacturers Association and a panel or experts in the areas or certification and accreditation.

Again, as Mr. Black mentioned, refor~ is coming. Changes will take place. An unwillingness to change where change is clearly indicated, will reflect an absence of courage and a failure of nerve. The journey for us frore platitude to practical application is complicated and cannot be achieved without your help. Before the Commission retreats in September, I would urge you and encourage you to communicate with us as a staff and to talk with us about things that are your concern and to allow us to share that with the leadership of the Commjssion. Thank you very much.


On behalf of the NACDA membership, I'd like to thank Creed and Kit for your very useful insights. We appreciate the sharing of information. Hopeftllly, that will be the basis for some useful dialogue that can take place at this point in time. We would welcome your comments, your reactions, your suggestions and your questions. Are there any at this time.


Paul Bogan from Westfield State. Mr. Black, how many Division III athletic directors appeared before you?


We tried not to select people just by names. We've gone out to get representatives from your own organizations. For instance, when the athletic directors came, Mr. Lengyel was the spokesman. When the group comes, we make a hospjtality suite available to them before they meet with us so they can get together and talk things out and get their own ducks in a row. I'd like Kit to answer your question.


It was a consensus of the Commission that the problems and we're trying to address do not exist extensively in Division III. The focus on the effort has been in Division I sports.


That's a nice answer, but I hope you keep that in mind and not roake regulations that affect us in Division III. What you do trickles down to us and it does affect us. \ve would appreciate that we have the opportunity to tell you about some of the problems we have. When you talk about student-athletes practicing too much, we can't get them to practice enough. We don't have that problem. But, you will pass legislation that will affect us and we hope we have an opportunity to face that.


I appreciate that. I have met with a group of 15 Division III athletic directors and heard so~e of the same concerns that you've expressed. One of the things that we will want to do during our retreat session in September is to understand the full impact of whatever trickle-down there may be. We're not a legislative bodyand will not be passing legislation. There may, in fact, be with our final reports, some legislative items that would probably be on the calendar for the 1992 NCAA Conventj.on. I think you do make 8 wonderful point.


We're not going to pass any legislations. Our Commission is not going to get bogged down of how many days there should be in spring football practice or how many games there ought to be on the basketb811 schedule. We're going to concentrate on the big picture and the things that we think are essential in first principle. We will address some other questions including the one of equity between male and female sports, We're not going to get into recommending all that u~ch specific legislation, much less pass it. We can't do it.

Before we ever decided to go forward with this, Dick Schultz had agreed to serve as a member of our Commission. He's been very faithful in his attendance. We've tried to schedule the meetings so that Dick could be there. He's very knowledgeable. Believe me, your interests are very well represented in having Dick there and in Kit, having been an athletic director.


Cynthia Ryder from Eastern College. I was pleased that Kit Morris mentioned the equity issue and I hope that before the final report comes out, that we end up with a one-plus-four model for fundamental principles. I think it's very easy for some white males to say, "look at yJhat we've done for minority student-athletes," or, "look what we've done for woDlen's athletics." I think some progress has been made, but I think we're on the very tip of the iceberg and we really need not be complacent. We really need a one-plus-four model at this time.


We've had a lot of input on the equity issue from women. ~!e discussed that as a problem and we agree with everything you say. We will have something to say about it in the final report. '{e have to be careful not to take our eye off the major mission of this Commission which is not to try to cure all of the problems in college athletics, but to deal with the problem of corruptjon of the whole process. I don't see the equity issue as part of that.


I'd like to underscore Kit's plea to you to let them know what you like about what they're doing and what concerns you have. That certainly will be instrumental in charting the success of their work. If there are no further questj.ons or comments, I'd like to thank you all for being here and we look fOrtiard to your partjcipation as the work of the Commission contjnues. Thank you.