University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

NCAA Certification Self-Study

Sponsor: Gail Klatt, Associate Vice President for Internal Audits

Overview of the Project

The NCAA began a program of certification for all Division 1 institutions in 1993 and now conducts certification reviews of each institution every ten years. The University of Minnesota was last certified in 1999 and is now beginning its second certification cycle. The NCAA certification process has three primary components: 1) a comprehensive self-study performed by the institution; 2) an external peer review conducted by representatives of peer institutions; and 3) the actual certification decision by the NCAA. The entire process takes 18 months to complete.

The NCAA views the certification process as a key component in demonstrating its fundamental commitment to integrity in intercollegiate athletics by:

  • opening the affairs of athletics to the university community and the public;
  • setting standards for the operation of Division 1 programs; and
  • putting tough sanctions in place for institutions that fail to conduct a comprehensive self-study or to correct problems.

The University's self-study will assess our program in the areas of academic integrity, equity, student-athlete well being, and governance and rules compliance. Sub-committees have been established to complete the self-study in each of these respective areas. Our stated goals for this effort are to:

  • Affirm the alignment of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics with the University of Minnesota's mission and its commitment to uncompromising integrity.
  • Affirm that the activities of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics are consistent with NCAA, Big Ten, and University principles, rules, and policies.
  • Inform the University and broader public communities about the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics' processes, goals, and purposes.
  • Provide a comprehensive, public, and transparent dialogue about the role of intercollegiate athletics in the University experience.
  • Identify opportunities to improve the operations of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, the University (where appropriate), and the overall experience of our student-athletes.
  • Develop specific action plans to act upon the opportunities identified.
  • Identify areas of excellence and best practices for broader adoption.
  • Receive an unconditional certification from the NCAA Certification Committee.

Project Goals

PEL team members will be assigned to each of the sub-committees to assist them with their work in completing the self-study. The specific tasks to be assigned to PEL participants will vary by committee and committee chair; however, activities could include: gathering and analyzing information, conducting interviews, facilitating focus groups, drafting sections of the self-study report, being involved in consultation efforts, and working on communication strategies and vehicles.

The bulk of the sub-committee work will take place between September 2007 and January 2008. Campus-wide consultation on the self-study findings will occur in February and March 2008, and the final report will be submitted to the NCAA in May 2008. The NCAA peer review team will visit the University in the fall of 2008, and the NCAA Athletics Certification Committee will issue a final certification decision in February 2009.

The PEL team's final project will be to assess and evaluate the self-study review process. The question to be answered is whether adopting this methodology in the University more broadly could potentially help us achieve our strategic goal of being an exceptional organization that fosters continuous improvement. PEL members' participation on the individual sub-committees will provide direct interaction with different leadership styles, committee structure, and organization, and different approaches to completing the self-study. As a team, the PEL group will be able to assess which process mechanics were the most effective in developing meaningful results and to discuss and answer questions such as: would similar reviews throughout the University aid us in attaining our goal of becoming a top three public research institution? Is the process of a self-study/review advantageous? Why or why not?

Project Team

Proposed Advisory Committee(s): University Research Compliance Committee

Team Leader

Lynn K. Holleran, Associate to the Vice President and Chief of Staff in the Office of the President

Team Members

Maggie Aftahi
Coordinator of Undergraduate Recruitment
Undergraduate Programs, CLA
Coach: Aimee Viniard-Weideman

Aaron Asmundson
Assistant Director for Leadership Programs
Office for Student Engagement and Leadership
Coach: Laurie McLaughlin

Matthew Nuttall
Business Analyst
Office of the Registrar
Coach: Tracy Smith

Tricia Sanders
Assistant to Vice Chancellor of Finance and University Services
Coach: Gail Klatt

Peggy Talbot
Supervisor, Systems Support
University Services
Coach: Jay Kiedrowski