March 4, 2005
Cullowhee, N.C. - The National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Committee on Athletics Certification announced Thursday, March 3, that the intercollegiate athletics program at Western Carolina University is unconditionally certified.
Western is one of 12 Division I member institutions receiving notification of certification of athletics programs by the NCAA in an announcement from its headquarters in Indianapolis.
Announcement of certification brings to a close a yearlong study of Western's athletics program designed to ensure integrity in the athletics programs of NCAA institutions and assist colleges and universities in improving their athletics departments.
"NCAA certification involves a thorough process of self-study by members of the university community, followed by a rigorous review of the athletics program by a team of professionals and educators from other NCAA institutions," said A.J. Grube, Western's assistant to the chancellor for equal opportunity programs who chaired the campuswide NCAA review committee. "By certifying our athletics program, the NCAA is saying that Western is running a program of fundamental integrity and one that emphasizes the needs of student-athletes."
Appointed in fall 2003 by Chancellor John W. Bardo, the committee chaired by Grube examined issues of academic integrity, governance, rules compliance, university commitment to equity, student-athlete welfare and sportsmanship.
An external team of peers from other colleges, universities and conference offices evaluated the committee's work in November. The review team reported its findings to the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification, which announced the final certification decision.
A designation of certification means that an institution operates its athletics program in substantial conformity with operating principles adopted by NCAA Division I membership.
NCAA legislation mandating athletics certification was adopted in 1993. The second round of athletics certifications is being completed on a 10-year cycle rather than the five-year cycle used during the initial certification process. All 326 active Division I members participate in the certification process.