University at Buffalo to Study Athletics Program

Release Date: September 28, 2001 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- President William R. Greiner announced today that the University at Buffalo will begin a year-long, campus-wide effort to study its athletics program as part of the NCAA Division I athletics certification program. Specific areas the study will cover are academic and fiscal integrity, governance, rules compliance, as well as a commitment to equity, student-athlete welfare and sportsmanship.

While academic accreditation is common in colleges and universities, this program focuses solely on certification of athletics programs. Following a pilot project, the Division I membership overwhelmingly supported the program and its standards at the 1993 NCAA Convention. UB completed its first certification self-study in 1993. At the 1997 convention, the Division I membership voted to change the frequency of athletics certification from once every five years to once every 10 years and to require a five-year interim-status report. Thus, the current self-study will be the second in the certification process for UB.

The certification program's purpose is to help ensure integrity in the institution's athletics operations. It opens up athletics to the rest of the university/college community and to the public. Institutions will benefit by increasing campus-wide awareness and knowledge of the athletics program, confirming its strengths and developing plans to improve areas of concern.

The committee responsible for the study will be chaired by Barbara A. Ricotta, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, and include various members of the university faculty and staff, as well as athletics department personnel. A member of the NCAA membership services staff will travel to the campus for a one-day orientation visit to meet with the committee and its subcommittees early in the process.

Within each area to be studied by the committee, the program has standards, called operating principles, that were adopted by the association to place a "measuring stick" by which all Division I members are evaluated. The university also will examine how the activities of the athletics program relate to the mission and purpose of the institution.

Once the university has concluded its study, an external team of reviewers will conduct a four-day evaluation visit to campus. Those 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. The committee then will determine the institution's certification status and announce the decision publicly. For institutions that fail to conduct a comprehensive self-study or to correct problems, tough sanctions can be imposed.

The three options of certification status are: (a) certified, (b) certified with conditions and (c) not certified. While universities and colleges will have an opportunity to correct deficient areas, those universities/colleges that do not take corrective actions may be ruled ineligible for NCAA championships.

The 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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