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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Peer review team to visit URI next week as NCAA certification process reaches final stages

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 9, 2005 -- A peer review team from the National Collegiate Athletic Association will visit the University of Rhode Island Tuesday, May 10 through Thursday, May 12 as part of the NCAA certification process.

The NCAA review team consists of Robert Koob, president of Northern Iowa University and Michele Martin, associate professor of Music at McNeese State University. Eric Baumgartner, assistant director of membership services at the NCAA, will join the team as the staff liaison.

URI’s athletics program was first certified in 1998, and is now seeking re-certification.

The certification steering committee at URI, which began the process in November 2003, has involved every aspect of the campus community in its self-study, which involved gathering data, conducting interviews and writing the self-study report. The steering committee also held two public forums before submitting its self-study report to the NCAA on Jan. 15.

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.

“The process has gone very well,” said Abu Bakr, executive assistant to the president and director of Planning Services and Professional Development at URI, who chairs the NCAA Certification Steering Committee. “Our committees worked long hours to complete the self-study. I would also like to commend the Department of Athletics and its administrators for providing information in a complete and timely manner.

“Everyone has been very responsive and supportive, not only in athletics, but across the University,” he added.

During its visit, the NCAA peer review team will meet with URI President Robert L. Carothers, other administrators, the steering committee, committee chairs, academic support personnel, the faculty representative to URI athletics, students and coaches.

The NCAA certification process is designed to open the affairs of athletics to the university community and the public; set standards (called operating principles) for the operation of Division I athletics programs; and put 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;

• Academic Integrity, Judith M. Swift, vice provost for academic affairs;

• Equity and Student-Athlete Welfare, Lynne Derbyshire, associate professor of communication studies.

As a result of the process and in particular the work of Derbyshire’s group, a minority and gender equity plan was written in the self-study that recommended a Title IX audit. Title IX is the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in education. “We have reviewed proposals, made a recommendation to hire a consultant and are awaiting approval to hire and schedule the audit,” Bakr said.

“This is a very proactive move that is designed to analyze the title IX landscape and URI’s efforts to maximize compliance with the law,” Bakr said. “This is something we said we should do to address Title IX in relation to the overall University strategic plan.”