Feb. 12, 2003
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - As part of the NCAA Division I athletics re-certification process, Western Kentucky University has begun a campus-wide, self-study of its athletics program. The purpose of the study is to permit the University community to examine the Athletic Department's operation in the following areas: academic integrity, fiscal integrity, commitment to equality, and governance and commitment to rules compliance.
"This study is to ensure that Western Kentucky University is in full compliance with all NCAA requirements and policies, as well as to identify any potential problems that should be addressed," said Western President Dr. Gary Ransdell. "This effort will involve a year-long review of our compliance with NCAA rules and regulation by key campus constituent groups."
Membership on the steering committee and subcommittees includes one or more representatives from the Student Government Association, University faculty and staff, student athletes, alumni and the Bowling Green community. Western Kentucky University General Counsel Deborah Wilkins will act as the campus liaison for the self-study.
"Western Kentucky University is committed and dedicated to the NCAA re-certification process," said Dr. Wood Selig, WKU Director of Athletics. "We feel very strongly that the self-study process will not only affirm the value and integrity of Western's athletic program, but also offer a unique opportunity to educate individuals across campus and beyond about the program's goals and purposes, the many challenges facing athletics today, and the ways in which athletics support the institution's overall mission."
Western Kentucky University's first NCAA self-study was completed in 1994. In May 1995, the University received certifications with conditions that were premised on Title IX considerations and minority hiring. In July of that year, an institution-wide minority plan, which included Athletics, was completed. In November 1995, a Title IX plan was completed, approved by the University's Board of Regents, and implemented. The Title IX and minority plans were submitted to the NCAA Committee on Athletics Certification in March 1996 and Western Kentucky University received full certification in June.
Within each area to be studied by the committee, the program has standards, called operating principles, which were adopted by the NCAA to place a "measuring stick" by which all Division I members are evaluated. Western Kentucky University also will examine how the activities of the athletics program relate to the mission and purpose of the institution.
Once Western has concluded 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.
The three options of certification status are: (A) certified; (B) certified with conditions; and (C) not certified.