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UNLV General Releases

Dec. 20, 1997

UNLV Gearing Up For NCAA Certification Process

LAS VEGAS, NEV.: UNLV President Dr. Carol C. Harter announced today that UNLV has 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 financial integrity, rules compliance, as well as a commitment to equity.

Academic accreditation is common in college and universities. This program is the first to focus solely on certification of athletics programs. Following a pilot project, the NCAA Division I membership overwhelmingly supported the program and its standards at the 1993 annual Convention.

Campus forums on each component of self-study will be made available to the campus community for an opportunity to participate by ensuring they are informed of the agenda. Thus, the athletic departments goal is to create awareness of the NCAA certification process within the UNLV campus and Las Vegas Community. The first campus forum is scheduled to take place in Feb. of 1998. The purpose will be to review the initial draft of the self-study and make presentations to campus organizations. Campus forums to review the final self-study report is scheduled for October of 1998.

"The NCAA Certification process is an important ingredient in intercollegiate athletics," UNLV Athletic Director Charles Cavagnaro said. "I have been involved in numerous certification procedures across the country. It only enhances that the athletic department is managed and operated properly within the guidelines of the NCAA."

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

The committee responsible for the study will include Dr. Harter, Dr. Myrlene LaMancusa, various members of the university faculty and staff, as well as athletics department personnel. A member of the NCAA compliance services staff will travel to the campus for a one-day orientation visit to meet the committee and its subcomittees early in the process.

Within each area to be studied by the committee, the program has set standards, called operating principles, which were adopted by the Association to place a "measuring stick" upon which all Division I members will be 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 own study an external team of reviewers will conduct a three-to-four-day evaluation visit on campus, scheduled for Dec. of 1998. Those reviewers will be peers from other colleges, conference offices and universities. That team will report to the NCAA Committee on Athletics Certification, another independent group. The committee will then determine the university'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 are: certified, certified with conditions and not certified. Universities will have an opportunity to correct deficient areas. Universities 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 the NCAA sports, conducting national championships, adopting and enforcing standards of eligibility, and studying all phases of intercollegiate athletics.

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