ISU Athletic Program study for NCAA recertification nearly done

Jeff Mitchell

An in-depth study of the ISU athletic program is nearing completion after an 18-month investigation into the program’s compliance with NCAA principles.

The study, conducted by a 21-member self-study steering committee, is part of the NCAA Division I certification process.

“The intent of the certification is really a self study of the department, and at the same time, for the university to become aware of the goals of the athletic department,” said Elaine Hieber, senior associate athletics director.

The four operating principles of Division 1 athletics programs are academic integrity; governance and commitment to rules compliance; fiscal integrity; and equity in student-athlete welfare and sportsmanship.

Hieber, steering committee member, said four sub-committees are working under the steering committee that focus on each of these operating principles.

“About 86 people with very specific roles have direct involvement with the self study,” she said.

ISU faculty, staff, alumni, students, student-athletes and community members are among those represented in the committees.

ISU Treasurer Joan Thompson, chairwoman of the fiscal integrity committee, said it has been a learning experience.

“I know a lot more about athletics than I did before the study,” Thompson said. “It gives me comfort that they have the checks and balances in place as far as the finance.”

The steering committee is scheduled to approve the final draft of its findings report Nov. 28.

“What we want is widespread participation to the review of the athletic department,” Hieber said. “Therefore, we will make the study available to the university community for their comments.”

Committee members will hold an open forum for public discussion of the report at 4 p.m Dec. 11. The steering committee will revise and approve the report based on the public’s input.

After receiving the final report, the NCAA will send an external review team of peers from universities outside the Big 12 Conference to visit the ISU campus.

“They will then conduct in-depth interviews to see that what we are saying is accurate and correct,” Hieber said.

“Then, they will either improve the plan or make recommendations.”

The NCAA Division 1 Committee on Athletics Certification determines the certification status of each member program based on the findings of the self-study and the recommendations peer review.

The three options for status the NCAA committee chooses from are certified, certified with conditions and not certified, according to the ISU Web site.

Institutions that are not certified can be barred from NCAA championships. If problems continue, those institutions may no longer be classified as an active member of the NCAA, according to the Web site.

The NCAA certification program was initiated in 1993 and granted Iowa State its original certification in 1997.

Thompson said she is content, at least in her area, the department is doing well.

“They provide training to the staff as far as complying to the policies and procedures of the university, and there really haven’t been many problems,” she said.

Hieber said the certification originally lasted five years, but the NCAA bylaw was changed, and this time around, Iowa State’s certification status will last 10 years with a mid term update.

More information on the certification process is available at and questions can be directed to [email protected].