The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

UTC Receives NCAA Certification

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has received confirmation on its NCAA certification, according to an official letter from the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification.

The purpose of athletics certification is to ensure integrity in the institution's athletics program and to assist institutions in improving their athletics departments.

The process, according to the NCAA, is a self-study led by an institution's chief executive officer, which includes a review of four primary components: governance and commitment to rules compliance; academic integrity; fiscal integrity; and equity, welfare and sportsmanship. A designation of certified means that an institution operates its athletics program in substantial conformity with operating principles adopted by the Division I membership.

The only area at UTC in which the committee found a need for improvement was in financial practices, but that principle has since been eliminated from the certification process.

Dr. Paul Watson, UTC Certification Chair, said that the University is also aware of shortcomings in meeting gender equity requirements.

"In all areas, we identified issues as possibilities," said Watson, a UC Foundation Professor in Psychology. "Like any school, gender equity is one of the main points of emphasis. We hired an outside consultant to see where we stood in that area. We developed a five-year plan to move toward our gender equity goal. We need to demonstrate that we are moving in the right direction,” Watson said. "Overall, everything was positive. It is an excellent opportunity to learn where the University stands in these areas. We are in compliance. There was one issue that concerned them, but that issue was rendered moot at the last NCAA Convention."

The Division I Committee on Athletics Certification preliminarily reviews an institution's certification materials, and then provides a list of issues identified during the evaluation. The university then has a period of approximately one year to respond in writing to the issues before a final certification decision is rendered. An institution's failure to satisfactorily respond to the committee may negatively impact certification status.

The certification process is separate from the NCAA's enforcement program, which investigates allegations of rules violations by NCAA member institutions. A decision of certified does not exempt an institution from concurrent or subsequent enforcement proceedings.

The NCAA Committee conducted its site visit on the UTC campus June 9-13. All 326 active Division I members participate in the certification process on a 10-year cycle.