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Board directs alternative approach to Division I certification: No schools will enter the Division I Athletics Certification Program to give the Committee on Athletics Certification time to develop an alternative approach to institutional accountability for athletics programs. Read more »

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Publish date: Apr 28, 2011

Board directs alternative approach to Division I certification

By Michelle Brutlag Hosick

No schools will enter the Division I Athletics Certification Program to give the Committee on Athletics Certification time to develop an alternative approach to institutional accountability for athletics programs.

The Division I Board of Directors decided Thursday that those in the beginning stages of the third cycle will continue with the certification process but will be allowed to opt for an abbreviated process if the staff determines that the self-study identified few negative issues.

In January, President Mark Emmert directed the NCAA staff to review the nearly two-decade-old certification program with an eye toward reducing the burden on institutions, increasing cost-effectiveness and improving the overall value. 

Officials estimate that the entire athletics certification experience costs each Division I member about $300,000 and requires an average of 400 hours of campus committee and other personnel time.

The recommendations approved by the Board charge the Division I Committee on Athletics Certification with the development of the new program, including an outline of a new approach to certification that is managed by the institution, rooted in technology and outcome-based (meaning schools with no or minor issues would experience a more streamlined process than schools with more significant issues).

Board members were keenly interested in a certification process that would still have some accreditation outcome and would keep the student-athlete experience at the forefront.

The gathering and assessing of institutional information would be entirely electronic and produce “indicator” products similar to the already-existing financial dashboard indicators. The reports would provide benchmark data in four areas: student-athlete experience, academics, finances (incorporating existing financial dashboard data) and diversity/inclusion.

The Committee on Athletics Certification will consider a program that would:

  1. Define accountability measures with a broad spectrum of options to be presented to the Board.
  2. Eliminate the current peer-review team system and replace it with a streamlined, issue-focused review that reduces the number of membership individuals and resources involved.
  3. Require certification data be provided annually by each Division I member, with the committee determining the appropriate timeframe for each member to review the data and respond appropriately. The penalty for not providing the data as specified would be ineligibility for all postseason competition for all teams, similar to the penalties for not providing Academic Performance Program data.
  4. Operate under a different name.
  5. Provide a different program for reclassifying members (a modified or more substantial process than that required of active members).

The committee will engage the membership for feedback throughout its review. The membership will be asked for input on the mission and purpose of the new program, whether or not it should be a certification/accreditation program or simply a self-study, consequences for not meeting minimum standards, the roles of the committee and the NCAA staff in the new program and whether or not external review should be an element of the process.

Modifications to the certification program would require legislative changes. The committee will provide reports to the Board in October 2011 and April 2012, with possible legislative proposals sent to the Board no later than October 2012. The committee’s goal is to have Board-sponsored legislative proposals ready for membership consideration during the 2012-13 legislative cycle.

The recommendations will include a phased-in approach that allows for time to develop the necessary technology, educate the membership and implement the new program.

No active Division I members will begin the athletics certification process from Aug. 1, 2011 until Aug. 1, 2013. Reclassifying members will remain subject to all athletics certification legislation throughout the moratorium period.