After forming a committee and collecting information throughout the summer, The University of Texas-Pan American formally began its yearlong self-study recently to be certified again by the NCAA.
Members of the University's steering committee - which formed in June - met with Kelly Brooks, NCAA liaison, via teleconference Aug. 24 to receive instructions on how to proceed with its self examination.
The University must undergo a yearlong study every 10 years as part of the NCAA Division I athletics certification program. The assessment will look at governance and commitment to rules compliance, academic integrity, gender and diversity issues and student-athlete well-being.
NCAA Division I members approved the certification program during its 1993 convention. UTPA conducted self studies in 1994-1995 and in 2000-2002.
The purpose of the self-study is to ensure integrity in universities' athletics programs by setting standards for operating them and imposing sanctions when any institution fails to address issues within their programs. To learn more about the self-study, click here.
"The program opens up athletics to the rest of the University community and to the public," said Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, UTPA president. "UT Pan Am will benefit by increasing campus-wide awareness and knowledge of our athletics program, confirming its strengths and developing plans to improve areas of concern. This videoconference kickoff was professionally conducted and we thank the NCAA for their level of guidance through this process."
Brooks met separately with Nelsen and Dr. Susan Griffith, executive director of the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness and the steering committee chair, as well as with committee and subcommittee members.
"The most rewarding part of the videoconference was having Mr. Brooks walk each subcommittee through the NCAA self-study instrument," said Griffith. "He made sure we understood what the NCAA is looking for in terms of evidence of compliance, and gave examples of the data and other information we should include to be successful. Also, having him there on the screen and hearing his voice humanized the NCAA and made us feel we have a colleague we can call on for help in the future."
The steering committee is expected to complete and submit its study to the NCAA in April 2011. An external team of reviewers will conduct an evaluation visit on campus that following fall and report its findings to the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification. UTPA should receive notification of its certification status in April 2012.
A complete list of individuals directly involved in the UTPA NCAA self-study can be found here.