Mason Receives NCAA Certification

Posted: March 15, 2011 at 1:04 am, Last Updated: March 14, 2011 at 8:00 pm

By Dave Andrews

The NCAA recently announced that George Mason University is among 26 Division I institutions to meet or maintain its requirements for athletics certification in this year’s review cycle.

The announcement comes after Mason conducted an 18-month, campuswide effort to assess the integrity of its athletics program. This is Mason’s third certification following a successful completion of the initial certification process in 1994, as well as a second self-study in 2001.

As a “certified” institution, Mason has earned the NCAA’s highest designation and shown that its athletics program “operates in substantial conformity with operating principles adopted by the Division I membership.” All 335 active Division I member schools participate in the athletics certification process.

“Mason’s athletics program is an important part of the university’s landscape.  This recertification gives us the opportunity to continue showcasing one of our institution’s strongest assets,” says President Alan Merten.

“I am proud of the work our steering committee did in demonstrating how Mason has successfully created and consistently maintained an environment in which our student athletes succeed in the classroom and in the field of play.”

The committee responsible for the study included President Merten, Vice President and Director of Athletics Thomas O’Connor, dozens of Mason faculty and staff representatives and student athletes.

After Mason concluded its self-study, the university hosted an external team of reviewers from peer institutions who conducted a three-day, on-campus evaluation. The peer-review team submitted their report to the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification, which then determined Mason’s certification status.

The purpose of athletics certification is to ensure integrity in the institution’s athletics program and to assist institutions in improving their athletics departments. NCAA legislation mandating athletics certification was adopted in 1993.

“Receiving certification is an extensive process, but it is a valuable achievement that assists us in maintaining Mason’s mission and overall organizational character,” O’Connor says. “We took this process very seriously, and we’ve proven yet again Mason’s status among the elite institutions in the country. Our commitment to integrity, equality and academics is just as important to our student athletes and coaches as it is to the many individuals who support us each year.”

The certification process includes a review of three primary components: governance and commitment to rules compliance; academic integrity; and gender/diversity issues and student-athlete well-being. Each member institution is to complete a self-study at least once every 10 years.

Institutions are given one of three designations: certified, certified with conditions or not certified. Each school has an opportunity to correct deficient areas, but those that remain not certified may be ruled ineligible for NCAA championships.


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