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UI confident about NCAA program

BY CHRIS HIGGINS | FEBRUARY 28, 2014 5:00 AM

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University of Iowa officials are confident they can weather an updated NCAA program that will require the university to complete something every year that used to be done every decade.

The UI Presidential Committee on Athletics discussed the NCAA’s updated certification process on Thursday.

Division I universities must be certified by the NCAA to ensure the athletics departments meet its standards. It looks at academics, finances, demographics, and student-athletes’ well-being.

Previously, this occurred once a decade. The university was last certified in 2005.

“At that time, it was a big act for us to get everything together,” said committee member Chuck Lynch. “Somebody looked into cost accounting to see what this was costing, and this estimate was anywhere from $250,000 to $500,000 to run through the certification process.”

The NCAA decided to change its program in 2012. The old program was suspended, and the new one will begin in August.

Institutions will now be evaluated yearly. Jane Meyer, the UI senior associate athletics director, said certification would be tied solely to data. It used to be decided by a committee.

Lynch said there would be a “bar” the university will have to hit for each data point the certification program will weigh.

“This is going to be an ongoing certification process,” Lynch said. “The idea behind this is that there should be oversight.”

The new program, called the NCAA Division I Institutional Performance Program, will require data not currently collected by the NCAA. Officials said the university should have no problems gathering the data.

“We are literally monitoring all of those things already,” said athletics-panel head N. William Hines. “Getting [the data] in a form that they want may be a bit of a challenge, but there’s certainly nothing here that should give us any anxiety about whether we can do it.”

Officials are also hopeful the university will meet the requirements.

“With all the work we’re currently doing, I’m confident, with whatever metrics they come up with, we’ll either be there or we can manage to it if we’re not there,” Lynch said.

The NCAA will conduct a student-athlete survey to assess factors such as nutrition, mental health, and leadership. Officials noted the survey’s components could be difficult to quantify. The NCAA is not finished designing the program.


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