Impacting the Future of College Sports 

Issues and Solutions Update — October 2023

Edition No. 8

Register for Knight Commission’s public session:

“New CFP Revenues: A billion-dollar opportunity to reset priorities and build a better model"

November 17, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. ET | Marriott Marquis, Washington, D.C.

Register to attend in-person or to watch the discussion virtually

Projected new and uncommitted annual revenue will soon exceed more than a billion dollars from an expanded 12-team College Football Playoff (CFP) and more lucrative conference media rights agreements. There are no existing earmarks or restrictions on the use of these funds.  

This session will examine projected spending and the unique opportunity university presidents, athletics directors, and conference commissioners now have to put big-revenue college sports on a better path. Knight Commission solutions will be discussed, including recommendations to overhaul the CFP and NCAA governing structures and to devote more resources directly to college athletes’ education, health, safety, success, and equity.


  • Damon Evans, Barry P. Gossett Director of Athletics, University of Maryland 
  • Kelleigh Fagan, Partner, Sports Law and Higher Education Services, Church Church Hittle + Antrim Law; [Note: Fagan co-authored a report provided to the Knight Commission on May 20, 2021, on the Title IX implications of its proposed new governing entity for the sport of FBS football. The report's executive summary is here.]
  • Kevin White, Vice President/Director of Athletics, Emeritus and Professor of Practice, The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University

2032 Financial Projections Report:

What happens if status quo spending patterns are maintained?

The Knight Commission’s recent report is based on a new analysis from financial services firm CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP) that used actual athletics revenue and expense data, along with projected revenue, to model a future financial landscape for the coming decade for public FBS athletics programs. Many leaders have engaged with the Commission to learn more about this report and to review their respective institutional data since the report's release.

Click here for the Executive Summary of "Financial Projections Through 2032 for Division I FBS Programs" 

Institutional and conference office leaders can review their respective data by contacting the

Knight Commission at [email protected].

"Credential of Coaching Excellence" program expands to include all sports

Knight Commission continues sponsorship to support coaches

In 2015, the Knight Commission first called for the creation of standards for coaches that mirror those in other professions and that would emphasize their responsibilities as educators in their relationships with college athletes.

The Commission applauds the United Soccer Coaches Association's successful launch of the first comprehensive coach credential in 2022-23. Building on this success, United Soccer designed the Credential of Coaching Excellence for head and assistant coaches from all sports, not just soccer. The Knight Commission continues its sponsorship of this important program. Registration is now open through November 26.

Head coach Margueritte Aozasa, who led the UCLA women's soccer program to the 2022 NCAA Division I national championship, discusses the impact of the coaching credential program.


Read the

full article.

Why college football is king in coaching pay, even at blue blood basketball schools

USA TODAY | October 3, 2023

In conjunction with its annual analysis of football coaching salaries, USA TODAY reported "public schools in Power 5 conferences will pay their head coaches an average of $6.2 million this year which marks a whopping 14.3 percent increase over 2022." The article included comments from Commission CEO Amy Privette Perko, who noted, “When it comes to football coaching salaries at the top level, university presidents decided that they would follow the pro model. Everything else is structured in a different model. And frankly, that’s what’s causing the model to rip apart at the seams."

Read the full article.

Revenue-sharing with major college football players seems 'inevitable.' How could it get going?

Associated Press | September 12, 2023

National college football writer Ralph Russo summarized a key finding from the Knight Commission's report in an article examining the potential for sharing revenue with college athletes: "The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics last week released the results of analysis that projected through 2032 the expenses of 54 public schools currently in Power Five conferences. It found those schools collectively will be spending only $11 million more on scholarships and medical expenses for 30,000 athletes than they will on compensation and benefits for 594 football coaches."

Read the full article.

Many schools on track to spend more on coaches than player needs | September 6, 2023

This article about the Knight Commission’s recent report quotes Commission co-chair and former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan: "Recent conference realignments demonstrated to all that college sports at many schools in the power conferences are driven by one all-consuming pursuit: the money chase...This report starkly underscores that continuing business-as-usual athletics spending with billions in new revenue will create a future that is entirely incongruent with the mission of college sports."

Read the full article ($).

College Football: One Final Performance

Sports Business Journal | August 21, 2023

From Michael Smith's article: “All of the changes have left college football wondering who is in charge and what is the most appropriate financial model — such as a possible revenue share with the players — to guide athletics into the future.

…The Knight Commission attempted to address some of the confusion with a report in 2020 that recommended college football break away from the NCAA by creating a separate entity that’s funded by the CFP. Since then, there has been plenty of chatter about the need for a body that thinks football 24/7, but no movement to actually start one..."

Read the full article.

Commentary: Chip Kelly's plan could save college sports, and that's why it will never happen

Los Angeles Times | August 12, 2023

Columnist Brady McCollough highlighted UCLA football coach Chip Kelly's proposal that college football programs operate in an entity separate from all the other sports so that those sports would not be negatively impacted by football-driven conference realignments. Noting that Kelly's plan is "not a new concept," McCollough adds that "in December 2020...the Knight Commission said the best way forward would be to remove the Football Bowl Subdivision from the NCAA and let a new entity govern the sport’s highest level of competition.”


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