The University of Connecticut has been re-certified by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), affirmation that the institution operates its athletics program in conformity with the operating principles adopted by Division I membership.
Similar to the University’s reaccreditation process for its academic operation, NCAA certification is conducted on a 10-year cycle. UConn last went through the process and was certified in 1998. Also similar to reaccreditation, the certification follows a comprehensive, year-long self-study of the athletics division’s operations, a site visit by a peer review team, an NCAA certification committee’s review of the self-study, and a report by the peer review team.
The self-study includes a review of governance and commitment to rules compliance; academic integrity; equity; and student-athlete well-being.
Ronald Schurin, an associate professor of political science and former executive assistant to then-President Austin who chaired the self-study committee, says the division – and the University – did well virtually across the board.
“We’re blessed,” says Schurin, “in that we’ve been successful on the field while operating a program that is integrated into the mission of the University.”
He says the site visit team and the NCAA itself praised the academic support provided through the Counseling Program for Intercollegiate Athletics (CPIA). “In fact, the NCAA asked if they could share with other schools the report on the CPIA’s activities,” he says.
He notes that the self-study team found the institution goes the extra mile in assuring that student-athletes receive appropriate educational support. “We’re very mindful that the emphasis in the phrase ‘student-athlete’ is on the first word of that configuration,” he says.
“We’re also doing well with equity, where we’ve been a national leader in promoting access,” Schurin adds.
Schurin says the self-study committee and several sub-committees, comprising about 60 volunteers, also found conformity to NCAA rules and regulations “in every important area.”
The University has 650 student-athletes participating in 24 intercollegiate sports at the Division I level, the highest level of athletics in the collegiate ranks.
“I’m pleased to learn that the University has been certified by the NCAA following a full review of our athletics program, as part of the NCAA’s ongoing, mandatory, certification process,” says University President Michael J. Hogan.
“I’m very proud of our athletics administration and coaches, our student-athletes, and the many staff members who do so well representing UConn in intercollegiate athletic competition. The NCAA’s certification is a testament to the quality of our program and the principles we seek to cultivate.”
Jeffrey Hathaway, director of athletics, says the NCAA certification is a testimony to the commitment of our entire University.
He notes that many athletics division staff members, other UConn staff and faculty members, campus administrators, and friends of the University participated in the recertification process.
“The operating principles the NCAA requires each member school to follow are a priority to our institution and all who are part of the UConn community,” he says.
“I also wish to recognize our student-athletes and coaches who represent the University each and every day,” Hathaway adds.
“The passion and dedication of all those involved have allowed us to be successful academically, athletically, and in the development of outstanding leaders in our communities.”