Nov. 4, 1997
KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University officials met last week with a representative from the National Collegiate Athletic Association to begin the year-long study of its athletics programs, as part of the NCAA's athletics certification program.
WMU, along with all 307 Division I schools, is taking part in this on-going certification program that examines the academic and financial integrity, rules compliance and commitment to equity of university athletic programs.
"Our university was part of the NCAA's certification pilot program in the early '90s," said WMU President Diether H. Haenicke, a peer reviewer on teams that certified athletic programs at Tulane University and the University of Idaho. "This is a process that is important and from which we will benefit."
While academic accreditation has long been common for colleges and universities, this NCAA program is the first to focus solely on certification of athletics programs. Following a two-year pilot project that began in 1990, Division I members overwhelmingly supported the program's implementation and its standards at the NCAA's 1993 Annual Convention. Each year, approximately 60 Division I schools take part in the certification process. Recertification takes place every 10 years.
The certification program's purpose is to ensure integrity in the institution's athletics operations. The process includes a self study phase where the university evaluates its program against NCAA measures. This is followed, approximately 12 months later, by an external review conducted by a team of officials from other Division I institutions.
The WMU committee responsible for the self study phase represents a cross section of the University community. It includes Haenicke; Dr. Jan W. Lyddon, director of planning and institutional research, who will serve as chairperson; Kathy B. Beauregard, director of intercollegiate athletics; and members drawn from faculty, staff, students, the athletic department and the community.
"I am very confident that our athletic programs will be certified and that we will benefit from the input that we receive as part of this process," Beauregard said.
In addition to the 13-member steering committee, there are four subcommittees with nine to 12 members each. The subcommittees will each examine one area of inquiry, such as rules compliance. There also will be public sessions to gather input from the University and broader community.
Once WMU has completed its own study, an external team of reviewers will conduct a three- to four-day evaluation visit on campus. This will take place in December 1998. Those reviewers will be peers from other colleges, conference offices and universities. This peer review committee will then determine WMU's certification status and make a public report of its recommendations in early 1999.
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