University of Delaware Office of Public Relations The Messenger Vol. 5, No. 3/1996 Self-study promotes awareness of athletics Results of a self-study show that UD's athletic program, which includes 22 intercollegiate sports, (11 for men and 11 for women), "is well run, has the highest standards and abides by the rules," Roland M. Smith, vice president for student life and chairperson of the self-study, says. "It's reassuring to know that we are doing things the right way. We found some areas that need improvement, but no substantial issues." The self-study, undertaken for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Athletics Certification Program, was the first step in the NCAA's new mandatory certification process. The second step, a public hearing, was held in May, and the last step for certification, an external review by an NCAA- appointed review team, will take place this fall. Athletics certification was approved for Division I institutions at the 1993 NCAA Convention as a key part of the organization's reform agenda. Certification is meant to ensure the NCAA's fundamental commitment to integrity in intercollegiate athletics by opening the affairs of athletics to university communities and the general public across the country. When certification was begun, a pilot program was put into effect for two years. This year, the first of the every-five-year studies is being conducted at Delaware and other colleges and universities across the country. Key campus constituent groups were involved in the self- study. The 28 members of the self-study committee investigated all operational phases of the athletics program through four subcommittees that worked throughout the 1995-96 academic year. Examined were governance of the athletics program and its commitment to rules' compliance; fiscal integrity; academic integrity; and commitment to equity. NCAA officials have said they see the self-study as a chance to promote awareness of the athletics program and to offer affirmation to many aspects of it. The External Peer Review Team, composed of experienced educational and athletics personnel, will visit UD in October to conduct its own study of the athletic program. To be chaired by the chief executive officer of a university with a similar athletics program, the review is similar to the one conducted by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education for all other aspects of the University. "The team will visit for three or four days and ask questions to make sure the self-study reflects current practices at UD," Edgar N. Johnson, director of intercollegiate athletics, explains. Results of both the self-study and the review team's report will be forwarded to the NCAA's Committee on Athletics Certification, which uses them as the basis for determining certification status.