Paul D. Staudohar and Barry Zepel
The purpose of this paper is to examine the principal findings and recommendations of three major studies. The first is a series of three reports produced from 1991-1993 by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. 1 The second is a book published in 2001 called The Game of Life: College Sports and Educational Values. 2 The third study is by the Knight Commission in 2001. 3
These studies lend themselves to analysis and comparison because they examine athletic programs in the context of the mission of higher education. The Game of Life covers a longer time span and views college sports comprehensively and at all levels of competition. The Knight Commission reports focus on the sports of football and basketball at Division I-A schools. The studies are particularly worthy of attention because of the objective approach and high quality of the research. Both of the major Knight Commission studies (hereinafter called Knight I—the 1991-1993 studies—and Knight II—the 2001 study) were chaired by William C. Friday, president emeritus of the University of North Carolina, and Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame. The Game of Life is based on a study by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Author James L. Shulman is the financial and administrative officer, and author William G. Bowen is the president of the Mellon Foundation. Bowen is also a former professor of economics and president of Princeton University.