Siena College to Study Athletics Program
May 18, 2004
Siena College has begun a year-long, campus-wide effort to study its athletics program as part of the NCAA Division I athletics certification program, according to President Kevin E. Mackin, OFM. The self study is required by the NCAA every 10-years and covers three specific areas: academic, governance and rules compliance, and commitment to equity and student-athlete welfare.
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. Siena College completed its first self-study during the 1996-97 academic year and was certified in October 1997. The current self-study will be the second in the certification process for Siena.
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 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 Steering Committee responsible for the study includes President Mackin and is chaired by Dr. Maryellen Gilroy, Vice President for Student Affairs Various members of the College's faculty and staff, as well as athletics department personnel are members of the steering committee as well. Two member of the NCAA membership services staff traveled to campus for a one-day orientation visit in mid-March 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, which were adopted by the Association to place a "measuring stick" by which all Division I members are evaluated. The College also will examine how the activities of the athletics program relate to the mission and purpose of the institution.
Once the College has completed its study, an external team of reviewers will conduct a four-day evaluation visit on 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 will then determine the institution's certification status and announce the decision publicly. For institutions that fail to conduct comprehensive self-study or to correct problems, sanctions can be imposed.
The three options of certification status are: (a) certified; (b) certified with conditions; and (c) not certified. While colleges will have an opportunity to correct deficient areas, those 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.