Athletics preparing to move to Division I
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (Aug. 18, 2014) — Northern Kentucky University President Geoffrey S. Mearns announced today that the school will begin a year-long, campus-wide effort to study its athletics program as part of the NCAA Division I Institutional Performance Program. Specific areas the study will cover are governance and commitment to rules compliance, academic integrity, and gender/diversity and student-athlete well-being.
While academic accreditation is common in colleges and universities, this program focuses solely on the athletics programs. Following a two-year pilot project, the NCAA Division I membership overwhelmingly supported the program and its standards at the 1993 NCAA Convention.
The Institutional Performance Program’s purpose is to help ensure integrity in the university’s athletics operations. The program opens up athletics to the rest of the university community and to the public. Institutions will benefit by increasing campus-wide awareness and knowledge of the athletics program, confirming its strengths, and developing plans to improve areas of concern.
The committee responsible for the study will include President Mearns; Dr. Sue Hodges Moore, senior vice president for institutional effectiveness; various members of the NKU faculty and staff; as well as athletics department personnel. A member of the NCAA academic and membership affairs staff will conduct a one-day orientation visit with the committee and its subcommittees early in the process.
Within each area to be studied by the committee, the program has standards known as operating principles that were adopted by the Association to establish benchmarks by which all active Division I members are evaluated.
When NKU has concluded its study, an external team of reviewers will conduct a three- or four-day evaluation visit on campus. The reviewers will be peers from other colleges, universities, or conference offices. The peer-review team will report to the NCAA Division I Committee on Institutional Performance. The committee will then determine whether the university has successfully completed the Institutional Performance Program process. NKU must successfully complete the process prior to being considered for election to full Division I membership, at which time the university would be eligible for NCAA postseason tournament play.