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NCAA certification team visits campus

By : By Katie Ellis

A two-day site visit by a National Collegiate Athletic Association peer-review team last week moved Binghamton University’s NCAA certification process forward.

Certification, which is mandated within a school’s first five years of Division I participation, is meant to ensure a commitment to the integrity of an institution’s athletics program. Review team members focus on standards in governance and commitment to rules compliance; academic integrity; and equity, welfare and sportsmanship.

Similar to academic accreditation, the process includes a self-study, which Binghamton completed earlier this year. The NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification reviewed that report, and the peer review team pursued questions about Binghamton’s programs and the self-study during its visit.

The four member team met with several dozen people, including President Lois B. DeFleur; the University’s NCAA certi-fication steering committee led by Michael McGoff, vice provost for strategic and fiscal planning; and members of three subcommittees on governance, academic integrity and equity. The visit was an excellent one, DeFleur said. “The team was enormously complimentary of the campus and how much progress we’ve made in our program,” she said. “The reason they were here and that we go through this process is to help us advance and improve athletics.”

The process, which began nearly two years ago with steering and subcommittees gathering information and input, has been an outstanding one from McGoff’s perspective. “It really was a reaffirming self-study, and in retrospect, a positive and wonderful process,” he said, “and while the peer review team was here, we successfully helped them understand our responses to their questions, some of which were due to the different terminology used by the SUNY system and the NCAA.”

Joel Thirer, director of health, physical education and athletics, noted the process has involved a much larger University constituency. “We worked very closely with a broad spectrum of the University,” he said. “That brought many more people into the overall understanding and mechanics of the athletics program and how we integrate into the fabric of the University. This is a review of an athletics program in the context of the greater University.” McGoff said the University will receive a written copy of the peer review team’s report within a few weeks. Following that, a campus plan will be put together and sent to the NCAA certification committee by Feb. 1. The committee will then meet to determine Binghamton’s status and to grant unconditional or conditional certification. Institutions earn certification for 10 years.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08