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Convocation Center
Convocation Center, UTSA 1604 Campus

UTSA prepares for NCAA athletics recertification

By Marianne McBride Lewis
Director of Public Affairs

(Feb. 15, 2007)--UTSA has begun a yearlong, campus-wide effort to study its athletics program as part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athletics certification program. Required areas of study include academic integrity, governance and commitment to rules compliance, and equity and student-athlete well-being.

NCAA Division I certification is reviewed every 10 years. Before 1997, reviews were every five years. This is the second self-study in the certification process for UTSA. The 1998 self-study report is posted on the UTSA Athletics Web site.

The NCAA certification program's purpose is to help ensure integrity in the university's athletics operations by opening athletics to the public and the university community with an opportunity to increase campus-wide awareness and knowledge of the athletics program, confirm its strengths and develop plans to improve areas of concern.

"Athletics is a critical component of student life and forging UTSA's community identity, and will be increasingly important as our rapid growth to premier public university status evolves," said UTSA President Ricardo Romo. "Strong compliance with our own principles and NCAA requirements evidences our commitment to being an exemplary higher-education citizen among our peer institutions, and also as representatives of the San Antonio community."

Romo appointed Robert McKinley, associate vice president of the UTSA Institute for Economic Development, to chair the recertification self-study committee. The 30-member committee includes UTSA Athletic Director Lynn Hickey, other athletics department staff, and UTSA students, faculty and staff members.

"Our committee's principal goal is to assess the UTSA athletics program for compliance with current NCAA criteria, document status in the self-study report and make recommendations to President Romo for continuous improvement," said McKinley.

Data for the report scheduled for completion by May 15 is being culled from reports submitted to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, standard reports maintained by the athletics department and from campus-wide public forums from a variety of athletics stakeholder groups.

When UTSA has concluded its self-study, the findings are sent to the NCAA. This fall, an external team of independent reviewers will conduct a two-day evaluation visit at UTSA. The reviewers will be peers from other colleges, universities or conference offices. That team will report to the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification, another independent group that will determine certification status and announce the decision publicly.

The three options of certification status are certified, certified with conditions and not certified. While colleges and universities have an opportunity to correct deficiencies, those that do not take corrective actions may be ruled ineligible for NCAA championships.

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 program 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.

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