State University, Long Beach
DIVISION I ATHLETICS CERTIFICATION
In 1989, former NCAA Executive Director Richard D. Schultz initially
introduced the athletics certification concepts, and a two-year
pilot program of 34 Division I institutions began in 1990.
B. A special committee studied the results of the pilot program
over the following year and a streamlined version of the program
was formulated and supported by the NCAA Presidents Commission,
the NCAA Council and the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate
C. Athletics certification was approved by Division I institutions
at the 1993 convention as a key part of the NCAAs reform
D. The NCAA Committee on Athletics Certification, comprised
of 15 administrators (CEOs, FARs, ADs, SWAs, commissioners)
from member institutions and conference offices, was appointed
in 1993 to administer the program and determine the certification
status of each Division I member institution.
E. Every institution suggested its preference for placement
in the initial athletics certification cycle. Generally, the
respective conference offices coordinated such efforts. The
committee considered other scheduling principles such as coordination
with an institutions regional accreditation (if so desired)
and preferences of the pilot program participants before finalizing
the five-year schedule.
F. Institutions that participated in the two-year pilot program
generally agreed that the program was valuable but could be
improved by limiting the scope of the self-study. After a special
committee reworked the process, the NCAA Presidents Commission,
the NCAA Council and the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate
Athletics supported a revised version of the program. A second
cycle of athletics certification began in 1999.
certification is meant to ensure the NCAAs fundamental
commitment to integrity in intercollegiate athletics by:
Opening the affairs of athletics to the university community
and to the public.
B. Setting standards (called operating principles) for the operation
of Division I athletics programs. They cover four basic areas:
commitment to rules compliance, academic integrity, fiscal integrity,
and commitment to equity.
C. Putting tough sanctions in place for institutions that fail
to conduct a comprehensive self-study or to correct problems
over a reasonable period of time.
Benefits of Self-Study
core of athletics certification is the institutions self-study
in which campus-wide participation is critical. Such benefits
Self-awareness. The self-study offers a unique opportunity to
educate individuals across the campus about the athletics programs
goal and purposes, the many challenges facing athletics and
the ways in which athletics supports the institutions
B. 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
C. Opportunities to improve. Even an outstanding program can
be better, and problems will be identified routinely as part
of any institutions 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.
are benefits for the NCAA as well. These include:
To provide a framework for the Division I membership to show
its continuing commitment to institutional control of intercollegiate
athletics within the academic setting.
E. To increase public confidence in the NCAA. 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 offer input into
the self-study report early in the process and review the self-study
report after it was drafted.
NCAA Certification Process requires that all member institutions
undergo a comprehensive examination of its athletics program every
five years. The process focuses institutional attention on its athletics
program for the purpose of determining the structure and adequacy
of departmental and institutional compliance. Not only does the
process focus on compliance with NCAA rules; it also causes the
institution to review the departments compliance with its
certification process consists of the following steps:
Interaction occurs between the Chief Executive Officer and
NCAA Compliance Services.
2. President appoints senior executive as chair of the NCAA
Certification Steering Committee.
3. President appoints NCAA Certification Steering Committee.
4. Orientation visit from the NCAA staff.
5. Committee conducts and prepares an institutional self-study.
6. An on-site visit is made by the members of the NCAA Peer
7. Exchange of information and responses to questions and
concerns takes place between the universitys NCAA Certification
Steering Committee and the NCAAs Peer Review Team.
8. The finding of the NCAA is provided which may take one
of three forms:
b. conditional certification
c. denial of certification
Areas of Certification
to the NCAAs Certification Handbook, the Certification
Process will examine four basic areas:
Governance and Commitment to Rules Compliance
This section will guide the institution through a comparative
study in the areas of governance structure, departmental structure,
administrative functions, lines of communication, oversight
delegation and internal and external controls. This section
also helps the institution determine its level of compliance
commitment by exploring the institutions system for
rules education, documentation of compliance and oversight
functions and staffing and resources devoted to the compliance
A thorough comparative analysis of admissions policies, academic
support and academic success will be completed in this section.
Self-study questions are framed to ensure careful thought
in relating the actual policies and practices of the department
of athletics to the educational mission of the institution.
This section will research the policies, procedures and controls
governing the financial sources and expenditures of the athletics
Commitment to Equity, Welfare and Sportsmanship
This section will examine the athletic departments commitment
to fair and equitable treatment of both men and women.
Preparing for the Self-Study
NCAA recommends that the Steering Committee establish a self-study
implementation plan which should include:
The universitys institution-specific objectives related
to the self-study. This may include both internal and external
goals the institution hopes to accomplish through the self-study
(e.g., furthering faculty understanding, improving institutional
control, easing community concern, enhancing quality in specific
areas of athletics).
B. A preliminary outline of the major components of the self-study
C. Processes for completing the self-study. This should include
a specific timeline encompassing Steering Committee and subcommittee
deadlines, meeting dates and times of NCAA visits, formal communication
lines and task delegation.
D. Selection of Subcommittees: The selected subcommittees will
be responsible for gathering the information necessary for answering
the self-study questions in each area. Each subcommittee should
be chaired by an individual who will make evaluative decisions
and write the draft report to be submitted to the Self-Study
Steering Committee chair.
E. Direction of Subcommittees: The subcommittees should be given
clear direction as to depth of research, format and style of
draft reports, approval of specific action plans and other expectations
for the section of questions assigned to it.
F. A listing of existing evaluation processes on campus and
other self-study resources.
G. A determination of resources necessary to complete the self-study,
their availability and sources.
H. A means to inform the appropriate constituencies as to the
progress and results of the self-study.
Conducting the Self-Study
The self-study is a series of questions designed to require
the institution to review its policies and procedures, to submit
those policies and procedures to scrutiny, to determine whether
the policies and procedures comply with NCAA requirements, to
determine the adequacy of the policies and procedures, to determine
institutional compliance with the policies and procedures, to
require drafting of policies and procedures where voids are
found and to improve the policies and procedures.
B. The questions used in the self-study are probative and are
based on the Constitution and Bylaws of the NCAA related to
the four areas of certification.
C. Great care should be taken in the review, understanding and
response of the subcommittees. The questions, although relatively
few in number, require substantial effort prior to preparing
a response. The analogy would be to an audit plan simple
in form, complex in response.
D. The Self-study shall address first cycle plans for improvement
as well as actions required by the NCAA Division I Committee
on Athletics Certification.
E. Each subcommittee shall include information on how data collection
The On-Site Visit
A Review of Self-Study Report
Upon the completion of the Self-Study Report, the NCAAs
Peer Review Team reviews the information provided. They look
for completeness of responses, the presence or absence of support
for statements made in the report, the appropriateness of the
responses to the questions asked and the presence of violations
acknowledged in the report.
The Site Visit
Thereafter, an on-site evaluation visit is scheduled. The NCAAs
Peer Review Team and others as appropriate visit the campus
of the institution to review with the Steering Committee and
staff the institutional self-study report.
Letter of Confirmation and Institutional Reply
Shortly after the site visit concludes, the NCAAs Peer
Review Team will prepare and submit to the institution a letter
of confirmation. This letter summarizes the areas needing attention
or revision in the self-study report. The letter also makes
recommendations for institutional improvement.
Upon receipt of the letter of confirmation, the institution
is given the opportunity to file a reply. This reply is then
reviewed by the NCAAs Peer Review Team and, together with
the other available information, forms the basis for the certification
The Certification Decision
The Committee on Athletics Certification will render its decision
based upon materials provided by the institution and the peer
review team; an in-person appearance by institutional representatives
may be requested by the committee.
B. The committee is obligated to choose from among three options
in determining each institutions certification status.
Certified: Operating in substantial conformity with the operating
2. Certified with conditions: Operating in substantial conformity
with operating principles; problems identified were considered
serious enough to cause full certification to be withheld
until those problems have been corrected.
3. Not certified: Operating not in substantial conformity
with the operating principles; problems identified were considered
to be very serious or pervasive, and action must be taken
by the institution before it can even be conditionally certified.
An institution "not certified" can be placed in a
restricted membership category (ineligible for NCAA championships)
for up to a year for failure to correct problems during a specified
time period; and, if problems continue to remain unresolved,
the committee may reclassify an institution as a corresponding
member (no longer an active member of the NCAA).
D. Participation in this program is separate from the NCAAs
enforcement process; determination of a "certified"
status is not an indication that an institution is "infractions
free" or exempt from the occurrence of violations of NCAA
rules and regulations.
E. The identification and acknowledgement of problems during
the process should not be viewed as a signal of an "unhealthy"
program but, rather, as an indication that the institution is
committed to the self-study process and to its own improvement.
F. Once an institution is notified of the certification decision,
the committee will announce its decision publicly through a
standard press release.