WFU begins campus-wide effort to study athletics program
By Kevin Cox
Wake Forest University has begun a campus-wide effort to study its athletics program as part of the Division I athletics certification program.
Specific areas that the Wake Forest study will cover are academic integrity, governance and commitment to rules compliance, as well as a commitment to equity and student-athlete welfare.
The process, which began this fall, is expected to be completed by November 2005.
While academic accreditation is common in colleges and universities, this program was established by the NCAA to focus solely on certification of athletics programs. Its purpose is to help ensure integrity in the athletics operations of colleges and universities.
The NCAA's Division I membership approved the certification program and its standards for schools in 1993. Wake Forest was first certified in 1995. Certification is required every 10 years.
Wake Forest President Thomas K. Hearn Jr. appointed Sandra Boyette and Kenneth A. Zick to co-chair the university's steering committee that oversees the study. Boyette is vice president for university advancement and Zick is vice president for student life and instructional resources.
The university established three subcommittees. Robert Walsh, dean of the Wake Forest School of Law, is chair of the subcommittee on governance and rules compliance. Toby Hale, associate dean of the College, is chair of the subcommittee on academic integrity. Harold Holmes, associate vice president and dean of student services, is chair of the subcommittee on equity, welfare and sportsmanship.
Members serving on the steering committee and the subcommittees include students (including student-athletes), faculty, staff (including coaches), alumni and trustees. The NCAA's goal is to ensure broad-based participation from a wide variety of constituent groups inside and outside athletics. Shane Lyons, associate commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, will serve on the steering committee, also.
This week, several members of the committee and subcommittees participated in an orientation videoconference with the NCAA in which NCAA representatives outlined steps that will be taken in the year ahead as the process develops. The self-study formally begins this month.
Subcommittees are responsible for investigating the areas assigned to them. In particular, they are to study and evaluate the activities of the athletics program to assure compliance with standards and develop relevant plans for improvement stemming from their work. Subcommittees will prepare reports for the steering committee; the steering committee will be responsible for writing the final report.
Once Wake Forest concludes its study, an external team of reviewers peers from other colleges, universities or athletics conference offices will visit the university. That team will report to the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification, another independent group. The committee will then determine Wake Forest's certification status and announce the decision publicly.
Wake Forest has established a Web site to provide additional details about the certification process. The address is: http://www.wfu.edu/ncaa