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Peer-Review Team to Visit UB as Part of NCAA Certification Program

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: October 8, 2002

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo is in the home stretch of its year-long, campus-wide effort to study its athletics program as part of the NCAA certification program.

The final self-study report has been sent to the NCAA and a peer-review team from the NCAA will visit UB Nov. 5-8.

The self-study report is available for members of the campus community to review at http://www.ubathletics.buffalo.edu/certification/.

"I am glad we have completed the final report, and am looking forward to the peer-review visit in November," said Barbara Ricotta, dean of students and chair of the steering committee overseeing the NCAA certification program. "This was a long process; however, I believe that we accomplished what we set out to do, which was to complete a thorough self-study of our intercollegiate athletics program.

"The self-study confirmed our belief in the excellence and integrity of our athletics program," Ricotta noted. "While there were a few areas where continued improvement could be identified, we determined that UB is in substantial conformity with all of the NCAA operating principles."

Added Athletic Director Bob Arkeilpane: "NCAA Division I certification requires a comprehensive self-study of all areas of an intercollegiate athletics program, and I am very impressed with the time, effort and wisdom a number of volunteer committee members contributed to this self-study, most notably the chair (Ricotta)."

The purpose of the certification program is to help insure the integrity of an institution's athletics operations. Institutions must show every 10 years that they meet certain standards set by the NCAA.

The campus visit by the peer review team constitutes the final leg of this process, which began for UB on Oct. 1, 2001. The team's basic function, explained Laura J. Barnum, assistant athletics director for business operations and project manager, is to verify the accuracy and completeness of the self-study report, verify the broad-based participation in the self-study and evaluate conformity with the operating principles and the institution's mission and purpose,

Barnum outlined the agenda that the peer-review team will follow during its visit to campus next month. The team will begin its evaluation visit by meeting with members of the steering committee to discuss the tone, purpose and schedule of visit activities.

After the introductory meeting, members of the team will conduct interviews, review records and tour campus facilities to determine whether "the institution's stated policies and procedures are engaged and functioning," she said.

Throughout the visit, peer-review team members will compare and contrast findings with each other, then adjust their schedules and activities based on these conversations.

Before leaving campus, the team must complete the final draft of its written report to the NCAA Committee on Athletics Certification. Team members also will meet informally with President William R. Greiner and possibly other UB representatives. "The purpose of the meeting will be to offer the team's general impressions of the visit and to share information, including any serious problems that were discovered during the evaluation visit, that may be contained in the peer-review team's formal written report," Barnum said.

The team will address several issues specifically, she said, including UB's self-study process in terms of openness, thoroughness and breadth of participation; the athletics program activities that were evaluated by the peer-review team; UB's adherence to the NCAA operating principles, and its proposed plan for improvement.

The team will not, however, offer information during this meeting concerning its recommendation on UB's certification status, Barnum said, adding that the university should receive a decision about its certification status -- either certified, certified with conditions or not certified -- in early 2003.