University Launches Effort to Certify Athletics Programs

Posted: February 24, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

George Mason begins a yearlong, campus-wide effort to study its athletics programs as part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athletics certification program, President Alan Merten announced today. Specific areas the study covers are academic and fiscal integrity, governance, rules compliance, and commitment to equity and student-athlete welfare and sportsmanship.

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. At the 1997 convention, the Division I membership voted to change the frequency of athletics certification from once every 5 years to once every 10 years and to require a 5-year interim status report. The current self-study is the second in the certification process for George Mason.

The university’s NCAA certification self-study is directed by a steering committee led by Martin Ford of the Graduate School of Education. Also on the committee are Merten; Gerald Cook, Electrical and Computer Engineering and faculty athletics representative; Thomas O’Connor and Susan Collins, Intercollegiate Athletics; David Rossell, Provost’s Office; Darcy Cors, President’s Office; Carl Harris, Systems Engineering and Operations Research; Linda Miller, Dance; Donna Kidd, Budget Office; Linda Westphal, Human Resources; Janet Hale, College of Nursing and Health Science; James Hazel, Board of Visitors; Margaret Howell, Equity Office; Susan Jones, Registrar’s Office; Stephen McGinn, Student-Athlete Council representative; and Eric Sas, Student Government. Serving as ex-officio members are Kathleen Hallock, Colonial Athletic Association; Linda Schwartzstein, School of Law; and Maurice Scherrens, senior vice president.

“We want George Mason to be widely viewed as a university that operates with high integrity in everything it does,” says Ford. “The NCAA certification process is an important part of that philosophy. It will also be a terrific opportunity for people throughout the university to learn more about how a very significant part of the university operates and how our athletics programs contribute to the overall mission of the institution.”

Once George Mason has concluded its study, an external team of reviewers will conduct a four-day evaluation visit on campus. Those reviewers will be peers from other colleges, universities, or conference offices. That team, which will report to the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification, will then determine George Mason’s status and announce the decision publicly.

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