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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI to hold two public forums as part of NCAA certification process

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 17, 2004 -- As part of the process to gain re-certification for its athletic programs from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the University will hold public forums Thursday, Sept. 30, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and Monday, Oct. 4, from noon to 1:30 p.m. The forums will be held in Atrium II of the Memorial Union.

The process, which began last year, is designed to involve all segments of the University community.

The forums will provide the community with basic information about the NCAA certification process as well as an opportunity to provide input and information about the athletics programs under review in this self-study. Both forums are free and open to the public.

Since the University earned its first certification six years ago, the 7,700-seat Ryan Center replaced Keaney Gymnasium as the main basketball and event venue on campus and the Boss Arena opened its doors to club ice hockey and figure skating, both in 2002. The University also added women’s crew as a varsity sport.

“We look forward to hearing from students, faculty, staff and alumni on this process,” said Abu Bakr, executive assistant to the president and director of Planning Services and Professional Development, who chairs the NCAA Certification Steering Committee. “Their comments about URI athletics and certification will help guide us as we continue to evaluate intercollegiate athletics. This effort will only be enhanced by active community participation.”
The primary purpose of certification is to ensure the NCAA’s commitment to integrity in intercollegiate athletics. The process requires member institutions to conduct an intensive self-study, followed by a visit from an NCAA evaluation team.

Bakr said the self-study is designed to help the University examine what it is doing well and to let the community know about those accomplishments, as well as to find and remedy those areas where the University is not performing well.

The certification process:

• Opens the affairs of athletics to the university community and the public;

• Sets standards (called operating principles) for the operation of Division I athletics programs; and

• Puts in place tough sanctions for institutions that fail to conduct a comprehensive self-study or to correct problems.

The subcommittees and their chairs are:

• Governance and Commitment to Rules Compliance, Harry Amaral, director of Enrollment Services. This group is addressing institutional control, presidential authority and shared responsibilities and rules compliance;

• Academic Integrity, Judith M. Swift, vice provost for Academic Affairs. This group is examining academic standards, academic support and scheduling; and

• Equity and Student-Athlete Welfare, Lynne Derbyshire, associate professor of Communication Studies. This subcommittee is addressing gender issues, minority issues and student-athlete welfare.

The process began in November 2003 with appointments to the steering committee and the subcommittees.

Following the open forums, the self-study report will be submitted to the NCAA in January 2005, prior to a visit from an NCAA peer review team. The peer review team will be on campus in May 2005 to evaluate the report and to discuss the athletics programs with various University constituencies. Following feedback from the peer review team, the Steering Committee will submit its final report. The NCAA Certification Committee will make a final determination on the certification status of the university in July 2005.

For those unable to attend the forum or who wish to provide information confidentially, may contact Abu Bakr at abubakrmail@uri.edu or by calling, 874-4860.