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.
The certification process, which involves a self-study led by an institution’s president or chancellor, includes a review of these primary components: governance and commitment to rules compliance; academic integrity; gender/diversity issues and student-athlete well-being.
A designation of certified means that an institution operates its athletics program in substantial conformity with operating principles adopted by the Division I membership.
The second and third rounds of athletics certifications are being completed on a 10-year cycle rather than the five-year cycle used during the initial certification process. All 335 active Division I members participate in the certification process
The Division I Committee on Athletics Certification preliminarily reviews an institution’s certification materials and provides a list of issues identified during the evaluation. The University then hosts a visit by peer reviewers who file a report regarding the institution’s resolution of those issues before a final certification decision is rendered. An institution’s failure to satisfactorily respond to the committee may negatively impact certification status.
The certification process is separate from the NCAA’s enforcement program, which investigates allegations of rules violations by NCAA member institutions. A decision of certified does not exempt an institution from concurrent or subsequent enforcement proceedings.