2007 Self Study Report
| Courtesy: The University of Arizona
Origin and history of athletics certification...
Athletics certification was approved for Division I institutions at the 1993 Convention as a key part of the NCAA's reform agenda. Certification was originally introduced in 1989 and tested in a two-year pilot program. Participants generally agreed that the pilot program was valuable but could be improved by limiting the scope of the self-study. After a special committee reworked the idea over the next year, the NCAA Presidents Commission, the NCAA Council and the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics supported a revised version of the program.
Athletics certification began its second cycle in 1999. Since 1999, the program has been reviewed annually and in 2004 the Board of Directors supported a revised version of certification that reduced the number of operating principles to seven.
The certification cycle...
The initial certification cycle required each Division I institution to complete a self-study of athletics in the first five years of the program. The Division I membership voted at the 1997 Convention to change the frequency of athletics certification from once every five years to once every 10 years. For the second cycle of the certification program:
- An institution's placement in the initial athletics certification cycle has been taken into consideration for its placement in the second cycle.
The certification process allows the institution approximately eight to 10 months to conduct its self study. An orientation conducted by a member of the NCAA staff signals the beginning of that self study process. Whenever possible, the NCAA staff member who conducts the orientation also will receive the institution's self-study report, make arrangements for the peer-review team's visit and accompany the peer-review team on that visit.
The program's purpose...
Athletics certification is meant to ensure the NCAA's fundamental commitment to integrity in intercollegiate athletics. The program is structured to achieve its goal in several ways:
1. By opening the affairs of athletics to the university community and the public.
- Key campus constituent groups must be meaningfully involved in the institution's self-study.
- Self-study reports are evaluated by teams of peer reviewers from other institutions and conference offices.
- Decisions of the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification related to an institution's status are announced publicly.
2. By setting standards (called operating principles) for the operation of Division I athletics programs.
These operating principles originally were adopted overwhelmingly at the 1993 Convention. They cover three basic areas - governance and commitment to rules compliance, academic integrity, equity and student-athlete well-being. In preparation for the second cycle of the athletics certification program, the operating principles in each of the areas were reworked and revised as necessary to complement and supplement information obtained by institutions during their first cycle self-studies. Following revision by the Division I membership, these changes were approved in 1998 and further revised in 2004 by the Division I Management Council and Board of Directors. The operating principles are included as a part of the athletics certification self-study instrument and appear in Bylaw 22 of the NCAA Division I Manual.
3. By putting tough sanctions in place for institutions that fail to conduct a comprehensive self-study or to correct problems. Athletics certification is intended to help an institution. For this reason, the program allows ample time for an institution to consider its programs, to identify problems and to correct them. Institutions that fail to make an honest effort face serious consequences: ineligibility for NCAA championships and, eventually, removal from active membership in the Association.
Benefits of self-study...
The core of athletics certification is the institution's self-study, in which campus-wide participation is critical. An effective self-study benefits the institution by providing:
1. Self-awareness. The self-study offers a unique opportunity to educate individuals across the campus about the athletics program's goals and purposes, the many challenges facing athletics and the ways in which athletics supports the institution's mission.
2. Affirmation. Athletics certification is couched in the affirmative - its aim, after all, is to certify - and the self-study process will reveal many aspects of the athletics program worthy of praise.
3. Opportunities to improve. Even an outstanding program can be better, and problems will be identified routinely as part of any institution's self-study. As these problems come to light, the self study process will offer a forum for suggestions from individuals with a wide range of experience.
There are benefits for the Association, as well:
1. The self-study provides a framework for the Division I membership to show its continuing commitment to institutional control of intercollegiate athletics within the academic setting.
2. Increased public confidence.
3. The athletics certification program serves as a means to ensure that all Division I member institutions are meeting the operating principles adopted by the membership.
During the second cycle, institutions will be asked to report specifically on the opportunities that were provided to various individuals or groups in the broad-campus community to:
1. Offer input into the self-study report before findings and plans for improvement were formulated.
2. Review the self-study report after it was drafted.
The NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification is responsible for the administration of the athletics certification program. All members are employed at Division I institutions or conferences, and they include college presidents, athletics administrators, faculty athletics representatives and conference administrators. The committee initially reviews the self-study reports of institutions to identify issues, receives the written evaluations of peer-review teams and the institution's response, which become the basis for determining the certification status for each Division I member institution.
Philosophy statement of the Committee on Athletics Certification...
The NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification is charged by the Division I membership to assist institutions in identifying mechanisms to ensure intercollegiate athletics programs are operating to their fullest potential. The committee and a team of an institution's peers will provide an objective evaluation of the institution's athletics program based on operating principles adopted by the membership. The certification program is designed to help an institution improve. The committee will allow ample time for an institution to consider its program, identify deficiencies and take steps to correct them. However, if an institution does not make a good faith effort to conduct an honest, straightforward, accurate self-study or the self-study reveals deficiencies in the intercollegiate athletics program, the committee will require the institution to take appropriate corrective actions. The committee will monitor the effectiveness of the certification program to ensure the NCAA's fundamental commitment to integrity in intercollegiate athletics is supported through the committee's actions and that the program continues to emphasize applicable principles of the Association.
External peer-review teams...
External peer-review teams, selected and assigned by the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification, are composed of experienced educational and athletics personnel. Peer-review teams are responsible for:
- Verifying that the institution's self-study was accurate and complete.
- Confirming that the self-study was developed through a broad-based process that involved campus-wide participation.
- Evaluating the self-study and committee-identified issues in terms of the operating principles that have been approved for all Division I members.
A typical peer-review team will consist of a maximum of four members. Whenever possible, a chief executive officer will serve as chair. Each peer-review team member will receive training, with special emphasis on training for peer-review team chairs.
Forming the self-study steering committee...
Four positions on the steering committee must be filled by the:
- Chief executive officer.
- Faculty athletics representative.
- Director of athletics.
- Senior woman administrator.
The chief executive officer's involvement as a full-fledged member of the steering committee is critical to imbuing the process with the necessary authority and seriousness of purpose. The chief executive officer may designate an individual to replace him or her at steering committee meetings that the chief executive officer cannot attend. The membership of the rest of the steering committee is left to the discretion of the chief executive officer. No other positions are mandatory, and the number of members will vary from campus to campus. Institutions with separate men's and women's athletics departments, for example, may find it necessary to make special provisions in their self-studies to allow for a proper evaluation of separate organizations or services, and the self-study steering committees of those institutions - and perhaps the peer-review teams that visit them - could be structured differently as a result.
In appointing steering committee members, the chief executive officer also may wish to consider the differing perspectives, range of expertise and access to information that may be offered by representatives of the following groups:
- Governing board.
- Administration external to athletics, including academic affairs, fiscal affairs, student affairs, admissions, registration and financial aid.
- Student body.
- Alumni or representatives of the institution's athletics interests in good standing.
Involving the campus community...
The steering committee should establish as many subcommittees as it considers necessary to complete the major topic areas of the self-study. Subcommittees should be organized in ways that best suit the institution's needs and the requirements of the self-study. It is recommended that subcommittee
membership be reflective of the broad constituent interests of the institution, including faculty, students and student-athletes. Ordinarily, the chair of a subcommittee would be a member of the steering committee. Also, as a
general rule, athletics department staff members would not serve as subcommittee chairs, although they normally would be included as subcommittee members. In addition, some athletics department staff members (e.g., athletics academic advisor, compliance coordinator) might serve as ex officio members of subcommittees to make data collection and analysis easier. Subcommittees are accountable to the steering committee and should be actively involved through regular communication, periodic meetings and timely reports. Finally, the steering committee is required to identify methods (e.g., appointment to the steering committee or subcommittees, interviews, student-athlete forums, student-athlete advisory committee) of involving student-athletes in the self-study process.
Responsibilities of the steering committee during the actual period of self-study include:
1. Collecting and organizing pertinent data.
The institution should gather data by making use of the individuals best suited to the job. Staff members in the offices of admissions and registration, for example, will be able to report on the demographics, and the academic preparation and performance of the general student body. Similarly, athletics department staff members (e.g., compliance coordinators, academic advisors) may serve as key sources of information regarding student-athletes.
2. Coordinating activities of the subcommittees and monitoring progress of the self-study.
The steering committee is expected to help ensure that subcommittee and steering committee reports are developed with:
- Opportunities for input from appropriate campus constituent groups.
- Appropriate involvement of all members of the steering committee or of a given subcommittee in the preparation of particular reports.
3. Reviewing reports of the institution, the peer-review team and the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification in relation to the institution's previous self-study.
This review will help the institution to judge its progress in addressing past problems. It also will assist the institution in preparing its response to specific requests of the second cycle self-study that reference first-cycle issues.
4. Reviewing the reports of the steering committee and the various subcommittees.
5. Maintaining a written record of:
- Dates on which subcommittee and steering committee meetings were conducted, and the individuals in attendance at those meetings.
- Individual(s) responsible for writing each section of the self-study report.
- Invitations extended to members of the subcommittees and steering committee to comment on subcommittee and steering committee draft reports, including the approximate dates on which those invitations were extended.
The peer-review team will consider these records as part of its evaluation of the institution's self study process and the extent to which that process reflected campus-wide participation. In their review of the institution's self-study process, peer-review teams and the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification will be guided more by the opportunities provided for comment and the quality of discussion than by the number of meetings.
6. Producing and publicizing the final self-study report.