Penn State receives NCAA athletics certification

April 18, 2008

University Park, Pa. — The NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification announced Tuesday (April 15) that Penn State has received athletics certification along with 34 other institutions.

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; equity; and student-athlete well-being.

"At Penn State, we have long maintained a culture of continuous assessment and review of academic, student life and other areas," said Jeremy Cohen, associate vice president and senior dean for undergraduate research, who chaired the self-study steering committee. "That gave us a very strong foundation for participation in the recertification process."

A designation of certified means that an institution operates its athletics program in substantial conformity with operating principles adopted by the Division I membership.

This classification means that the institution is considered to be operating its athletics program in substantial conformity with operating principles adopted by the NCAA's Division I membership. However, problems identified during the course of the institution's self-study and the peer-review team's evaluation were considered serious enough by the Committee on Athletics Certification to cause it to withhold full certification until those problems have been corrected.  The NCAA does not divulge specific information related to an institution’s self-study or peer-review visit or specific information concerning the conditions set forth for certification.

This marks the second time Penn State has been certified since the process was instituted. 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.

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.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009