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Glossary of Terms, NCAA

Athletics Certification Liaison (ACL). The NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification requires each NCAA Division I institution to designate an individual to serve as its athletics certification liaison. The liaison shall be the individual on the institution's campus responsible for monitoring the progress of the institution's plans for improvement developed during the athletics certification process. The institution's chancellor or president has previously identified the ACL who was responsible for monitoring the progress of the institution’s plans for improvement developed during the Cycle 2 athletics certification process. After the evaluation visit and before receiving the certification decision, the NCAA staff liaison will contact the chancellor or president to initiate the submission of the ACL for monitoring Cycle 3 plans for improvement developed by the institution.

Athletics Certification System (ACS). In order to increase efficiency, reduce costs and add greater consistency, the committee developed a Web-based program, ACS, for the submission and storage of institutional self-studies, committee-identified issues, peer-review team reports and committee actions. Self-study reports are required to be submitted through ACS, which is both ID and password protected.

Campus Contact. The campus contact is responsible for coordinating preparations for the evaluation visit, including lodging and travel for peer-review team members and NCAA staff, scheduling interviews and organizing any work-related needs for peer reviewers (e.g., computer resources, meeting rooms, documents to be reviewed).

Certified. An institution that has been "certified" is considered to be operating its athletics program in substantial conformity with all operating principles. This classification denotes: (1) any problems identified by the institution in its self-study or by the peer-review team during its evaluation were considered by the committee not serious enough to affect the institution's certification status, and (2) the institution demonstrated adequate follow up to concerns/improvement plans directly related to the operating principles that were identified by the institution or the committee during the institution's previous regular and/or interim self-study.

Condition. For institutions classified as "certified with conditions" or "not certified," the committee will include any corrective actions, and the timetable for completing each action, specified by the committee. These corrective actions are considered conditions. For those institutions that are certified with conditions, the institution will generally have a one-year time frame in which to report back to the committee to rectify its conditions. Once the institution responds with additional information regarding its conditions, the committee will deliberate the institution's materials at its next in-person meeting.

Conformity. The peer-review team and committee's most demanding task is to assess the extent of substantial conformity achieved by the institution with respect to the operating principles. This evaluation inevitably involves subjective judgment. In making these decisions, the peer-review team and committee make every effort to base decisions on reliable data; be sensitive to the unique characteristics and circumstances of the institution; and remain free of personal and professional bias.

Evaluation Visit (EV). The EV occurs after the institution has submitted its self-study report, after the staff and committee analyses have been completed and after the institution has had an opportunity to respond to the committee's analysis. The EV is staffed by a peer-review team who will have reached tentative conclusions about the nature of the institution's self-study process, the accuracy of the institution's written report and the operation of the athletics program in relation to the certification program's operating principles. Before leaving campus, the peer-review team is obligated to record its conclusions in a report that will be shared with the institution and committee. The institution's president/chancellor (and other institutional representatives at the discretion of the president/chancellor) is afforded an opportunity to hear the peer-review teams general impressions in an exit meeting at the conclusion of the EV. The EV may occur anytime between September 15 and November 30.

Measurable Standard (MS). The committee developed MS documents as a means to bring greater consistency to the athletics certification process. These documents are intended to clarify the expectations of the committee for each operating principle.

Not Certified. An institution that is "not certified" is not considered to be operating its athletics program in substantial conformity with the operating principles. This classification denotes: (1) problems identified by the institution in its self-study or the peer-review team during its evaluation were considered by the committee to be very serious or pervasive, or (2) the institution did not demonstrate adequate follow-up to Glossary of Terms for the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification concerns/improvement plans directly related to the operating principles that were identified by the institution or the committee during the institution's previous self-study and action must be taken by the institution before it can be conditionally certified.

Operating Principle (OP). The athletics certification program is made up of seven standards, OPs, which every Division I institution is required to meet. The OPs were originally adopted overwhelmingly at the 1993 NCAA Convention. They address the three basic areas of governance and commitment to rules compliance, academic integrity, gender/diversity issues and student-athlete well-being. OPs are included as a part of the athletics certification self-study instrument and appear in NCAA Bylaw 22 of the NCAA Division I Manual.

Opportunities for Enhancement. As part of its report, the peer-review team will identify any pertinent recommendations for the institution in a section titled, "Opportunities for Enhancement." Additionally, the committee may provide opportunities for enhancement with its certification status decision. The institution is not obligated to implement or respond to such recommendations; rather, these should be viewed as helpful suggestions from the institution's peers and/or committee to improve its athletics program.

Orientation Videoconference (OV). The NCAA staff liaison will conduct an OV for an institution approximately 12-14 months before the evaluation visit. The purpose of the OV is to review the purpose and format of the certification program; the institution's activities already conducted in preparation for the OV; the self-study instrument (with members of the steering committee and subcommittees); preparations for the evaluation visit; and projected dates for the evaluation visit. The OV is intended to benefit campus members who will be involved in the self-study. The OV can occur anytime between August 15 and October 31.

Peer-Review Team (PRT). An external PRT, selected and assigned by the committee, is composed of experienced institutional and athletics personnel. The PRT is responsible for verifying that the institution's self-study is accurate and complete; confirming that the self-study was developed through a broad-based process that involved campus-wide participation; and evaluating the self-study and committee-identified issues in terms of the OPs that have been approved for all Division I members. Before leaving campus, the PRT must complete its written report to the committee. Ordinarily, each member of the PRT is responsible for writing one or more sections of the report, divided generally according to those sections of the self-study members of the PRT were assigned. A typical PRT will consist of a maximum of four members. Whenever possible, a president or chancellor will serve as chair. Each PRT member will receive training, with special emphasis on training for PRT chairs.

Plans for Improvement. Written institutional plans have significant value for every Division I institution. They communicate an institution's current commitment, provide benchmarks to assess progress and also serve as enduring records that help ensure institutions' continued commitments in the future. Institutional plans must meet certain minimum requirements. Plans for improvement are required in the gender and diversity areas and in other areas when a deficiency is identified.

Report Coordinator. The report coordinator is responsible for entering information, including plans for improvement, into ACS. The report coordinator submits responses to each specific self-study item so they can be read individually, rather than as part of a general narrative. It is suggested the report coordinator be well-versed in Internet technology and/or data entry programming.

Self-Study Item (SSI). A SSI is a question contained in the self-study instrument to be researched, studied and answered by an institution during its self-study process. In evaluating the completeness and accuracy of an institution's self-study report, the peer-review team will consider whether institutional responses address each specific aspect of all SSIs identified by the committee.

Citation information:

Page accessed: Sunday, September 21, 2014
Page URL: http://tulane.edu/ncaa/resources/glossary.cfm

NCAA Certification for Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 ncaacert@tulane.edu