NCAA gives GW athletic program thumbs up

GW was granted full NCAA Division I certification early last December, completing an 18-month certification process required from all Division I colleges and universities.

Designed to ensure academic and athletic integrity and assist athletic departments in bolstering compliance with NCAA regulations, the certification program is part of the NCAA’s reform plan, first approved at the 1993 NCAA Convention.

GW complied fully with NCAA operating principles to achieve certification, including fiscal integrity, academic integrity, governance and commitment to rules, and commitment to racial and gender equity, according to the certification report.

The process to becoming certified was twofold. First, the University conducted a self-study report on everything from rules compliance to eligibility issues. Subcommittees were formed consisting of school deans, faculty, members from the board of trustees, students and alumni. Vice President for Administrative and Information Services Walter Bortz chaired the self-study umbrella committee.

It was a University-wide effort to ask ourselves some tough questions, examine our policies and procedures, discover our strengths and weaknesses, correct or adjust problem areas and insure that as an institution we measure up to sister institutions and the NCAA standards, Bortz wrote in an e-mail. I am very pleased and proud that GW and our student athletes, coaches and administrators did so well.

We tossed everything upside down, Athletic Director Jack Kvancz said. What’s great about the whole certification (process) is that, not only are we recognized by the NCAA as being compliant, but the entire University was involved in the process, which I think is the truly important thing.

Kvancz said numerous departments in the University were involved in the process.

If only the athletic department were involved, it would be like the fox watching the hen house, and that wouldn’t get anything done, he said. Different departments provide different ways to slice the chicken.

After completing the self-study process, an NCAA-appointed peer review team, consisting of members from other universities, completed its own study of the GW athletic program and gave GW high marks in practically all compliance and equity issues, according to University officials.

The team suggested several minor adjustments regarding record-keeping issues and staff and faculty recruitment plans, but was otherwise extremely pleased with GW’s level of competency, said Senior Associate Director of Athletics Mary Jo Warner.

The certification process cycles in five-year periods. It is not a given that a university will achieve certified status. Colleges that have committed major intercollegiate infractions in the past year, such as the University of Tennessee, the University of Minnesota and Notre Dame University are more likely to be certified with conditions or even uncertified, according to University administrators.

GW always is in accordance with NCAA compliance issues, and being certified is a good indicator of that, Warner said.

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