University of Pittsburgh
September 1, 2005

University of Pittsburgh to Study Athletics Program

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh announced today that it will begin a yearlong, campuswide effort to study its athletics program as part of the NCAA Division I athletics certification program. Specific areas the study will cover are academic integrity, governance, and commitment to rules compliance, as well as a 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. Pitt successfully completed its first certification self-study in 1998.

The certification program's purpose is to help ensure integrity in the institution's athletics operations. It opens athletics to the University community and the public. Institutions benefit by increasing campuswide awareness and knowledge of the athletics program, confirming its strengths and developing plans for improvement.

The committee responsible for the study will include Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg; Pitt Vice Chancellor Randy Juhl, who will serve as committee chair; and various members of the University faculty and staff, as well as athletics department personnel. A member of the NCAA membership services staff will conduct a one-day orientation videoconference 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, that were adopted by the association to place a "measuring stick" by which all Division I members are evaluated.

Once the University has concluded its study, an external team of reviewers will visit the campus for several days to evaluate the program. Reviewers are peers from other colleges, universities, or conference offices. That team will report to the NCAA

Division I Committee on Athletics Certification, which will determine the institution's certification status and announce the decision publicly.

The three options for certification status are: (a) certified; (b) certified with conditions; and (c) not certified. While universities/colleges will have an opportunity to correct deficient areas, those universities/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.