Pam Bernard Named to Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics

Pam Bernard has been named to one of the nation's leading panel studying reforms of college athletics.
Pam Bernard has been named to one of the nation's leading panel studying reforms of college athletics.

Pamela J. Bernard, vice president and general counsel at Duke, was one of five new members appointed to the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, which for three decades has promoted reforms that support and strengthen the educational mission of college sports. 

Bernard’s appointment was announced by Knight Foundation CEO Alberto Ibargüen and Co-Chairs Carol Cartwright and Arne Duncan. 

“This diverse group of new members brings a range of life experiences and exceptional expertise in their respective fields,” said Cartwright, president emeritus, Kent State University and Bowling Green State University. “We look forward to tapping their perspectives as we build on the commission’s legacy of influencing policies and practices that strengthen the educational mission of college sports.”

“Our new members have already spent much of their careers thinking about the important issues facing college sports,” said Duncan, the former U.S. Secretary of Education. “Their contributions will prove invaluable as we continue to promote values that are centered on improving student-athletes’ education and health.” 

At Duke, Bernard oversees a host of areas, including student and employment issues, health law, research, tax-exempt organizations, athletics, corporate and litigation coordination. Bernard was a member of the NCAA Committee on Amateurism, and currently serves on the NCAA’s General Counsel Advisory Board. 

She is past president of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, a national professional association of higher education lawyers. She was awarded the group’s 2004 Distinguished Service Award for her contributions to higher education law practice. Bernard, a frequent speaker on legal issues, has authored papers and other publications relating to higher education law. 

Prior to her appointment at Duke, she served as vice president and general counsel at the University of Florida. She received her Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Florida. 

“Knight Foundation has been proud to support the Knight Commission from its inception through the present. And Knight will continue to do so, as long as sports continues to be a magnet for the discussion of American values, and as long as we can count on the participation of extraordinary leaders like the ones just joining the Commission,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation. “In a slick and super commercial world, the Knight Commission’s role in emphasizing ‘student’ in collegiate ‘athletics’ has never been more difficult, or more important.”

Other new members included Eric BarronMichael M. CrowJacques McClendon and Jill Pilgrim.

The Knight Commission was formed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in October 1989 to promote reforms that support and strengthen the educational mission of college sports. Over the years, the NCAA has adopted a number of the commission’s recommendations, including the rule that requires teams to be on track to graduate at least 50 percent of their players to be eligible for postseason competition. The commission’s Athletic and Academic Spending Database provides financial data for more than 220 public Division I institutions, creating greater financial transparency on athletics spending.