Topics: Athletics, Student Affairs, President, Administrative

July 23, 2010

Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora has announced the university will begin a year-long, campuswide effort to recertify its athletic program as part of the NCAA Division I athletics certification program. Every Division I NCAA member institution is required to participate in the program. Specific areas the study will include are academic integrity, gender/diversity and student-athlete well-being as well as governance and commitment to rules compliance.

While academic accreditation is common among colleges and universities, the NCAA program focuses solely on certification of athletics programs. Following a two-year pilot project, the Association's Division I membership supported overwhelmingly the program and its standards at the 1993 NCAA convention.

Ball State completed its first certification study in 1995. At the 1997 convention, the NCAA Division I membership voted to change the frequency of athletics certification from once every five years to once every 10 years. The university completed its last certification review in 2002. Consequently, the current self-study will be the third in the certification process for Ball State.

The purpose of the recertification is to validate integrity in each institution's athletics operations by opening up athletics to the rest of the college or university community and to the public. Institutions benefit by increasing campuswide awareness and knowledge of the athletics program, confirming its strengths and developing plans to improve areas of concern.

Kay Bales, vice president for student affairs, will serve as chairperson of the committee conducting the study. Other committee members include Gora, Board of Trustees member and former Cardinals student-athlete Rick Hall, various representatives of Ball State's students, faculty and staff as well as key athletics department personnel. A member of the NCAA academic and membership affairs staff will conduct a one-day orientation videoconference with the committee members early in the process.

Within each area to be looked at by the committee, the certification program has standards known as operating principles that were adopted by the Association to establish benchmarks by which all Division I members are evaluated.

When Ball State concludes its study, an external team of reviewers will conduct a three- or four-day evaluation visit to campus. It will be comprised of peers from other colleges, universities or conference offices. The peer review team will report to the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification, which will then determine the Ball State's certification status and announce the decision publicly. Institutions that fail to complete a comprehensive self-study or to correct problems face possible sanctions.

The three options of certification status are: certified; certified with conditions; and not certified. While institutions have the opportunity to correct deficient areas, those that do not corrective actions may be ruled ineligible for NCAA championships.

The NCAA is a membership organization of colleges and universities that participate in intercollegiate athletics. The primary purpose of the Association is to maintain intercollegiate athletics as an integral part of the educational experience and the athlete as an integral part of the student body. Activities of the NCAA membership include formulating rules of play for NCAA sports, conducting national championships, adopting and enforcing standards of eligibility and studying all phases of intercollegiate athletics.