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Major College Football Teams Should Leave NCAA, Says Knight Commission

By

Andrew Cohen

The Knight Commission issued a report on Thursday recommending that all Football Bowl Subdivision teams should split from the NCAA and form their own governing body. NCAA president Mark Emmert met Thursday with the Knight Commission to discuss the recommendation. 

The Knight Commission is a panel comprised of university presidents, former athletic directors, and other leaders in sport dedicated to pursuing reform in college athletics. The group’s proposal would see all sports except FBS football continue to operate under the NCAA while FBS programs form a separate entity called the National College Football Association.

The NCAA currently provides all regulatory services to college football but does not benefit from the sport’s biggest money maker, the College Football Playoff, which generated $460 million in 2019 and is independently owned by the 10 FBS conferences. The Knight Commission suggests the CFP fund its own governing body that enforces rules related to education, safety, revenue distribution and eligibility requirements, which are all currently handled by the NCAA.

“Change is coming. Whether that’s at the state level or federal level, change is coming to college athletics,” Knight Commission co-chair Arne Duncan told ESPN. Duncan previously served as the U.S. Secretary of Education for the Obama administration. 

College basketball and its March Madness tournament (currently the NCAA’s largest source of revenue) would be unaffected by the Knight Commission’s plan. The Knight Commission added that it believes college athletes should remain unpaid, but supports the passing of NIL legislation to permit college athletes to be compensated for their name, image, and likeness.

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