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Release: Immediate

NCAA certifies University of Iowa athletics programs

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa athletics programs have been certified by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The designation of certified means that the UI has shown that it complies with NCAA standards for academic and financial integrity, governance and commitment to rules compliance, and commitment to gender equity.

NCAA certification is a year-long process that all 308 Division I members will undergo within five years. So far, 169 Division I schools have received certification status decisions. The program's purpose is to ensure integrity in the school's athletics operations and to assist athletics departments in improving their programs.

At the UI, the certification process centered on a self-study that directly involved 60 people, including administrators, faculty, staff, students and alumni. The self-study was supervised by a 22-member steering committee headed by Doug True, UI vice president for finance and university services, and Mark Schantz, UI general counsel. Ann Rhodes, UI vice president for university relations, served as liaison to the NCAA.

In addition, subcommittees were appointed to investigate academic integrity, fiscal integrity, equity, governance and rules compliance, and health and medical care.

At the end of the self-study, a peer group of administrators from other NCAA member institutions visited the UI campus and heard from the self-study committee and others. That peer group then reported back to the NCAA Committee on Athletics Certification, which rendered the final decision.

"Achieving this certification speaks volumes about the integrity with which our athletics programs are run," Rhodes said. "But almost as important as achieving the certification is the manner in which we conducted our self-study. The NCAA likes to see broad-based participation across campus, and that's just what we got. We had faculty, students, staff and alumni serving on the various subcommittees. Pooling the perspectives and insights of all those people allowed us to create a very valuable document."

"I came away from this process with a real appreciation for the strength of the University of Iowa's commitment to academic support for our student athletes. They are first rate, said Cheryl Contant, chair of the UI Board in Control of Athletics and associate professor of urban and regional planning. It was clear that the site team was also particularly pleased with that aspect of our program."

"We operate our academic programs to give our student athletes the best possible outcomes, and I think that is borne out by our graduation rates and the academic honors that our student athletes receive," added Contant, who served on the self-study steering committee.

The UI was among 19 schools that received certification decisions on May 7. The decisions were announced by the NCAA Committee on Athletics Certification, which fully certified 17 other schools, including Drake University. One other school was certified with conditions, meaning that full certification will be withheld until certain problems are resolved.