Lehigh University was awarded recertification as a Division I athletics program by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on April 12.
The NCAA requires Division I collegiate athletics programs to be recertified every 10 years to ensure they are in compliance with standards for athletics program governance, student-athlete welfare, academics and equity set by the NCAA. The designation of “certified” means that Lehigh’s athletics program meets Division I operating standards.
Here’s how the process worked: Lehigh created a steering committee in the fall of 2005 and three subcommittees—one on governance and NCAA rules compliance, a second one on academic integrity, and a third one on equity and student-athlete welfare. These groups performed a self-study of the athletics department based on the NCAA’s criteria, and reported their findings to the NCAA in May 2006.
The NCAA then sent a peer review team to Lehigh’s campus in September of last year to check the accuracy of the self-study report and investigate whether plans to address issues mentioned in the report were underway.
“We are pleased to be recertified by the NCAA, though it was the full expectation of all involved in the process to conduct the self-study and review process in the thorough and thoughtful manner that would earn certification,” says Joe Sterrett ’76, the Murray H. Goodman Dean of Athletics. “Our campus review was guided magnificently by Alumni Association Executive Director Chris Marshall, and I want to thank him for the extraordinary time commitment and leadership he provided.
“Our self-study process was predicated upon broad and active involvement by faculty, staff, students, and trustees, and this broad participation was essential to the affirmation in the final report that an athletics program properly grounded in the educational mission is important to Lehigh. I am grateful to all the participants for their meaningful contributions."
Those who served on the steering committee, chaired by Marshall ’88, included former Lehigh president Gregory C. Farrington; Sterrett; Jim McIntosh (professor of anthropology and sociology); Karen Adams (senior women’s athletics administrator); Mike Caruso '67 (trustee); Finn Wentworth ’80 (trustee); Bill Griffin ’79 (trustee); Frank Roth (general counsel); Carl Moses (deputy provost); Bob Eischenlaub (director, internal audit); Michelle Samuels (associate dean for student development); Bruce Gardiner (director of admissions); Bruce Correll (registrar); Linda Bell (director of financial aid); Bruce Taggart (vice provost for Library and Technology Services); Steve Devlin (vice provost for Institutional Research); Chuck Smith (professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics); Jack Lule (professor of journalism and communications); Linda Hendrixson ’06 (women’s swimming and diving); Mitch Gilfillan ’06 (men’s basketball); Sumona Basu ’06 (president, association of student alumni); Kip Wallen ’06 (president of the student senate); Taryn Gall (compliance coordinator); Matt Logie (former graduate assistant coach, men’s basketball); Sue Meyers (alumni association); Joanna Kreps (assistant director, Patriot League); and Sue Hofmann (former director of marketing and communications for University Relations who wrote the final self-study report).
"It was my honor to lead this certification process for Lehigh University,” Marshall says. “The group that did the work was comprised of over 80 members of the Lehigh community, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and administrators. The real work and credit goes to these folks.”
Marshall says the self-study confirmed that Lehigh athletics is on the right track.
“We are pleased to hear the final official news that the Lehigh Athletics Department is fully certified by the NCAA,” Marshall says. “We felt strongly from the outset that this would be the ultimate result. We conducted a thorough and detailed self-study and basically 'opened up the books' on Lehigh Athletics to see how they conducted their business.
“What we found was nothing short of a model program. Led by Joe Sterrett, the Athletics Department is built firmly on the foundation of intercollegiate athletics as integral to and in complete support of the educational mission of Lehigh University. This is true college athletics—with real student-athletes and educators working together to enhance the undergraduate educational experience. In other words, it is the way college athletics is supposed to be.”
To read the self-study that Lehigh submitted to the NCAA, visit lehighsports.com