Cal State Fullerton Athletics Department Undergoing NCAA Certification

Dec. 2, 2005

FULLERTON, CA - Cal State Fullerton has launched 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 endorsed the program and its standards at the 1993 NCAA Convention.

Cal State Fullerton completed its first certification self-study in 1998. In 1997, the Division I membership voted to change the frequency of athletics certification from once every five years to once every 10 years and to require a five-year interim-status report. Thus, the current self-study will be the second in the certification process for Cal State Fullerton.

The certification program's purpose is to help ensure integrity in the university's athletics operations. It serves to further open up athletics to the rest of the university community and to the public. Institutions are expected to benefit by increasing campuswide awareness and knowledge of the athletics program, confirming its strengths and developing plans to improve areas of concern.

The committee responsible for the study includes CSUF President Milton A. Gordon, CSUF Executive Vice President Judith Anderson -- appointed by Gordon to chair a steering committee to oversee the effort -- and various members of the university faculty and staff, as well as Athletics Department personnel.

"We'll be doing a thorough review of our intercollegiate athletics program; one that invites input and feedback from the campus community," said Anderson.

A member of the NCAA membership services staff conducted a one-day orientation videoconference last week with the committee and its subcommittees.

Within each area to be studied by the committee, the program has standards, or operating principles, which were adopted by the association to serve as a "measuring stick" for the evaluation of all Division I members.

Once the university has concluded its study, an external team of reviewers will spend two or more days visiting the campus for an on-site evaluation. 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. For institutions that fail to conduct a comprehensive self-study or to correct problems, tough sanctions can be imposed.

The three options of certification status are: (a) certified, (b) certified with conditions, or (c) not certified. While institutions will have an opportunity to correct deficient areas, those 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.

Serving with Gordon and Anderson on the university's NCAA Athletics Certification Steering Committee as assistant chairs are Bill Barrett, associate vice president for administration, and Lee Gilbert, acting associate dean for administration in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Also serving on the steering committee are: Stephan Walk, associate professor of kinesiology and health science; Davida Hopkins-Parham, executive assistant to the vice president for academic affairs; Patti Laguna, associate professor of kinesiology and health science; Robert Ammann, assistant men's soccer coach; Patty Sexton, coordinator of athletics personnel; Erica Satterfield, assistant commissioner for compliance, Big West Conference; alumnus F. Michael Stone of F. Michael Stone Accountancy in Santa Ana; Brian Quinn, director of athletics; Allison Rich, senior associate director of athletics/senior woman administrator; Nancy Dority, assistant vice president for admissions and records; Mona Mohammadi, Associated Students president; Erica Pryor, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee chair; Sandra Rhoten, associate dean of student affairs for judicial affairs; Pam Jones-Tintle, director of development, University Advancement; and Sandra Sutphen, emeritus professor of political science.

Hopkins-Parham chairs the Subcommittee on Governance and Commitment to Rules Compliance. Walk chairs the Subcommittee on Academic Integrity; Laguna chairs the Subcommittee on Equity and Student-Athlete Welfare.

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