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April 10, 2008



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What is the NCAA?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the governing body that oversees intercollegiate athletics in the United States.  Founded in 1906 (as the "Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States"), the NCAA now counts approximately 1200 American colleges, universities conferences and organizations as members and maintains a professional staff of more than 350.  Through governance procedures that engage all member institutions, the NCAA sets policies covering intercollegiate competition, athletics management, student recruitment, academic standards, equity, ethics, and other matters. 

What does “recertification” mean? 

Beginning in 1993, the NCAA instituted a process of “certifying” the intercollegiate athletics program at all institutions that, like UConn, participate at the Division I level.  In many important respects, NCAA certification is analogous to institutional accreditation such as is awarded by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).  The NCAA certification process requires that institutions engage in a comprehensive self-study conducted by a committee representative of the institution as a whole.  (Division of Athletics personnel may participate, but the committee should be chaired by an individual outside of the division and most of its members should come from other parts of the University.) 

The self-study should assess the institution’s compliance with the major “operating principles” (listed below).  Specific information must be provided in response to 70 “self-study items” that relate to these principles.

What is the recertification process? 

UConn completed its first self-study and certification process in 1998.  Except for a few relatively minor administrative items, the University was found to be in substantial compliance with NCAA standards.   The discrepancies were promptly addressed.  In 2002 the University completed an interim report updating the status of our compliance. 

NCAA calls for recertification at 10-year intervals.  UConn will engage in a comprehensive self-study to be completed by a University Steering Committee and Subcommittees that have been approved by the Office of the President.  Following approval by the President and Board of Trustees, the self-study will be presented to the NCAA.  Following a favorable decision to recertify by the NCAA, the University would be scheduled for recertification review in 2018.

The NCAA “Division I Committee on Athletics Certification” will then select and assign a “peer-review team” to review the self-study, visit the University, and meet with the President, members of the Division of Athletics, faculty, students, and others.  Generally the teams consist of 2-5 individuals, including the president of another institution. 

The peer-review team will verify the completeness and accuracy of the self-study report and, significantly, will verify that the entire campus community has had opportunity for input.  The team will provide a written report to the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification. 

The Committee will consider the peer-review team's findings and place the University in one of three “certification categories”:  certified, certified with conditions, or not certified.  The Committee may, at its discretion, call for interim campus visits by a peer-review team or additional written communication. 

Certification, if approved, is generally for a ten-year period. 

What are the NCAA’s “operating principles”?

The principles fall in three areas:

1.      Governance and Commitment to Rules Compliance

1.1    Institutional Control, Presidential Authority and Shared Responsibilities.  The
         Association's  principle of institutional control vests in the institution the responsibility for
         the conduct of its athletics program, including the actions of its staff members and
         representatives of its athletic interests.  In fulfilling this principle the institution shall
         demonstrate that:
      a.  The institution's governing board provides oversight and broad policy formulation
            for intercollegiate athletics in a manner consistent with other units of the institution.
      b.  The chief executive officer is assigned ultimate responsibility and authority for the
           operation and personnel of the athletics program.
      c.  Appropriate campus constituencies have the opportunity, under the purview of the
           chief executive officer, to provide input into the formulation of policies relating to the
           conduct of the athletics program and to review periodically the implementation of such

1.2     Rules Compliance.  Membership in the Association places the responsibility on each
           institution to assure that its staff, student-athletes, and other individuals and groups
           representing the institution's athletics interests comply with the applicable Association
           rules and regulations.
       a.  It has in place a set of written policies and procedures that assign specific
            responsibilities in the areas of rules compliance, including assignment of direct
            accountability for rules compliance to the individual the chief executive officer
            assigns overall responsibility for the athletics program.
       b.  In critical and sensitive areas, institutional compliance procedures provide
            for the regular participation of persons outside of the athletics department.
       c.  Rules compliance is the subject of an ongoing educational effort.
       d.  A clear and unambiguous commitment to rules compliance is a central
            element in all personnel matters for individuals involved in the intercollegiate
            athletics program.
       e.  At lease once every four years, its rules-compliance program is the subject
             of evaluation by an authority outside of the athletics department.

2.1       Academic Standards.  The Association's fundamental principles indicate
             that an intercollegiate athletics program shall be designed and maintained
             as a vital component of the institution's educational system, and student-
             athletes shall be considered an integral part of the student body.  Consistent
             with this philosophy, the institution shall demonstrate that:
        a.  The institution admits only student-athletes who have  reasonable
              expectations of obtaining academic degrees.
              (1)  If the academic profile of entering student-athletes, as a whole or for
                     any student-athlete subgroup, is significantly lower than that of other student-
                     athlete or comparable student-body groups, the contrasts shall be analyzed
                     and explained by appropriate institutional authorities.
              (2)  If the graduation rate of student-athletes, as a whole or for any student-
                     athlete subgroup, is significantly lower than that of other student-athletes
                     or comparable student-body groups, this disparity shall be analyzed, explained
                     and addressed (through specific plans for improvement) by appropriate
                     institutional authorities.
        b.  Academic standards and policies applicable to student-athletes are consistent
             with those adopted by the institution for the student body in general or the
             NCAA's standards, whichever are higher.
       c.   The responsibility for admission certification of academic standing and
             evaluation of academic performance of student-athletes is vested in the
             same agencies that have authority in these matters for students generally; and
       d.   Written policies related to scheduling are established in all sports to minimize
             student-athletes' conflicts with class time and/or final examination periods due
             to participation in intercollegiate athletics, consistent  with the provisions of

  2.2      Academic Support.  Members of the Association have the responsibility
             to conduct intercollegiate athletics programs in a manner designed to
             protect and enhance the educational well-being of student-athletes and to
             assure proper emphasis on educational objectives.  Consistent with this
             responsibility, the institution shall demonstrate that:
       a.   Adequate academic support services are available for student-athletes.
       b.   Student-athletes are encouraged and assisted in reaching attainable
             academic goals of their own choosing.
       c.   When it is determined that individual student-athletes have special
             academic needs, these needs are addressed.
       d.  The support services are reviewed and approved periodically by
             academic authorities outside the department of intercollegiate
             athletics; and
       e.   There is a commitment to the fair treatment of student-athletes, particularly
             in their academic role as students.

3.          Equity and Student-Athlete Well-Being

3.1   Gender Issues.  Consistent with NCAA Constitution 2.1, it is the
         responsibility of each institution to implement the Association's principle of gender
         equity.  In accordance with this fundamental principle, the institution shall:
   a.   Have implemented its approved gender-equity plan from the previous self-
         study.  If modified or not carried out fully, the institution shall provide an
         explanation from appropriate institutional authorities.
   b.   Demonstrate that it is committed to, and has progressed toward, fair and
         equitable treatment of both male and female student-athletes and athletics
         department personnel.
    c.   Formally adopt a written plan for the future for the intercollegiate athletics
          program that ensures the institution maintains a program, or continues progress
          toward a program, which is equitable for both genders.  The plan shall include
          measurable goals the institution intends to achieve, steps the institution
          will take to achieve those goals, persons responsible and timetables.

3.2    Minority Issues.  It is a principle of the Association to promote respect for
          and sensitivity to the dignity of every person and to refrain from discrimination
          prohibited by federal and state law.  Consistent with this fundamental philosophy,
          the institution shall:
    a.   Have implemented its approved minority-opportunities plan from the previous self-
          study.  If modified or if not carried out fully, the institution shall provide an
          explanation from appropriate institutional authorities.
    b.   Demonstrate that it is committed to, and has progressed toward, fair and
          equitable treatment of all minority student-athletes and athletics department
    c.   Formally adopt a written plan for the future for the intercollegiate athletics
          program that ensures the institution maintains a program, or continues
          toward a program,  which expands opportunities and support for minority
          student-athletes and athletic personnel.  The plan shall include measurable
          goals, persons responsible and timetable.

3.3     Student-Athlete Well-Being.  Conducting the intercollegiate athletics program
           in a manner designated to protect and enhance the physical and educational
           well-being of student-athletes is a basic principal of the Association. 
           Consistent with this fundamental principle, the institution shall:  
     a.   Provide evidence that the well-being of student-athletes and the fairness
           of their treatment is monitored, evaluated and addressed on a continuing
     b.   Have established grievance or appeal procedures available to student-
           athletes in appropriate areas.
     c.   Provide evidence that the institution has in place programs that protect the
           health of and provide a safe environment for each of its student-athletes.

Who conducted UConn’s NCAA Recertification self-study? 

The Self-Study was conducted by a Steering Committee and three Subcommittees that were focused on the three major content areas:

            Steering Committee
            Governance & Commitment to Rules Compliance Subcommittee
            Academic Integrity Subcommittee
            Equity & Student-Athlete Well-Being Subcommittee

A copy of the recertification self-study is posted on this site. Any general issues or questions can be directed to Dr. Ronald Schurin, the Chairman of the University Steering Committee at Ronald.Schurin@uconn.edu.