The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced this week that the University of Georgia had met all the requirements for recertification as a member of Division I. This marks the culmination of a two-year process that included a thorough review of the UGA Athletic Association by a committee composed of faculty, staff, students, and members of the community, the publication of a self-study, and an on-campus review by a peer committee of staff from NCAA institutions.
The review included detailed examinations of campus governance of the athletics program, compliance with NCAA regulations, academic integrity, academic support for student-athletes, gender equity, diversity and student-athlete well-being. The self-study and peer-review evaluations made some suggestions for improvements to policy and practice, but found that the athletic association had strong programs in place to support coaches, staff, and student-athletes in all areas.
The campus review committee was chaired by Rodney D. Bennett, vice president for student affairs, with support from Carla Williams, executive associate athletics director; Eric Baumgartner, associate athletics director for compliance; and Welch Suggs, assistant to the president and lead writer of the self-study report. Chancellor Brady Deaton of the University of Missouri led the peer-review team.
“I am very pleased that the hard work of Greg McGarity, Carla Williams and their staff has been recognized by the NCAA,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams, former chairman of the NCAA Executive Committee. “I truly believe this is one of the finest athletic programs in America, and I believe we surpass the NCAA’s requirements in all of the areas covered by the review. I would like to thank Dr. Bennett for his leadership over the past two years and all members of the committee for their time and service.”
The NCAA certification review takes place every 10 years. This was the third time the university has been certified, with earlier reviews having taken place in 1995 (pilot) and 2001. The NCAA’s Committee on Certification issued decisions for Georgia and 25 other Division I institutions this week, including Columbia University, the University of Maryland at College Park and the United States Naval Academy. A full list may be found at http://bit.ly/eyMFzc.
“I learned a tremendous amount during this process about the athletic association and the good work they do every day,” said Bennett, a member of the athletic association’s board of directors. “This review process affirms that the athletic association’s mission is the same as ours-to provide the best possible experience for the students and student-athletes of the University of Georgia.”
McGarity, who rejoined the UGA Athletic Association toward the end of the certification process, added that “it’s important that athletics be accountable to the university as a whole. This was a thorough review in which we learned a lot about ourselves and took away some good lessons. But I think it shows our values and our actions are in the right place.”