For the last 19 months, we have worked diligently to complete a comprehensive self-study as part of the NCAA's certification process required for membership in NCAA Division I athletics.
Athletics certification was approved for Division I institutions at the 1993 NCAA Convention as a key part of the organization's reform agenda. Originally introduced in 1989, certification was tested in a two-year pilot program and participants, including Santa Clara, 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 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.
Originally, the certification process was scheduled for each institution to go through the process every five years. Recent NCAA legislation adjusted the process to include a five-year interim progress report and a comprehensive self-study every 10 years.
The reason for certification is for non-athletic areas of campus to get to know the mission, purpose and services provided within the athletic department, integrate the department's services into the general campus and close some of the barriers of misinformation. The certification process provides closer communication with various departments on campus.
In the summer of 2000, we formed the Certification Steering Committee as well as various sub committees that were charged with examining each of the four areas of the self-study: Governance and Rules Compliance, Academic Integrity, Fiscal Integrity, Equity, Welfare and Sportsmanship.
Approximately 40 individuals from various areas of campus, including faculty, staff and students were involved in the formation of the 200-page self-study document and approximately 400 pages of supporting documents. The supporting documents included, among other things, institutional graduation rate reports, various management letters, audits, NCAA documents, passages from student handbooks, university policies and procedures and parts of the student code.
We submitted the self-study and related materials to the NCAA Certification Committee in late November and a site visit by the committee is scheduled for February 11-14. While on campus, the committee will conduct interviews with the Certification Steering Committee and the various subcommittees, athletic department and university staff and student-athletes.
Once the NCAA committee reviews the self-study and conducts the site visit, they will report their findings to the NCAA and issue a final report. This final report, which generally includes recommendations made to the institution on topics related to each of the four areas of the self-study, will be issued in the spring.
I want to thank the members of the Certification Steering Committee: Gary Neustadter, chair; Paul Locatelli; Denise Carmody; Charlie Erekson; George Giacomini, Jr.; Jim Briggs; Harry Fong; Patti Simone; Simone Billings; Jeff Zorn; and Robin Reynolds.
This committee met monthly for nearly a year, then began weekly meetings beginning in September. The various subcommittees met regularly, as needed, for the past year or so to formulate their portions of the self study.
Two of the key items that were addressed in this self study were the completion of recommendations made by the NCAA in Santa Clara's last certification, which took place in 1996, and the institution's commitment to equity.
I'm pleased with the presidential and institutional support we received throughout the self-study process. The NCAA certification process is a vital and important part of the broad responsibilities of the intercollegiate athletics program at each of its Division I member institutions. Much like accreditation, NCAA certification is required for membership and is a major reflection of the institution's dedication to student-athlete welfare and the serious issues we face in intercollegiate athletics.