Athletics reaccreditation on the horizon

Northern Arizona University’s athletics department is readying itself for an important series of events in its efforts to become reaccredited by the NCAA, and a steering committee leading the process is seeking participation from faculty, staff, students and the Flagstaff community.

The committee, led by Sarah Bickel, associate vice president for Student Affairs, and consisting of members from the campus and Flagstaff communities, is crafting a “self-study” report that will become the basis for a comprehensive and focused site visit by an NCAA peer review team in October.

The committee has made the draft report available for review and feedback before it is finalized and submitted to the NCAA on May 1.

“We want everyone—faculty, staff, students and the community as a whole—to participate in this process, to consider our strengths in providing both competitive and educational opportunities to our student-athletes, and also to help identify opportunities for improvement,” Bickel said.

“Becoming reaccredited assures that our athletics department operates with integrity and demonstrates that we are meeting NCAA standards,” she added.

As is customary, the self-study report was written in response to a series of questions provided by the NCAA and focuses on three NCAA operating principles:

  • governance and commitment to rules compliance
  • academic integrity
  • equity and student-athlete well-being

The committee is still finalizing its section on “equity and student-athlete well-being,” but has made its sections on governance and academic integrity, as well as an introduction, available for review online. Feedback can be submitted to by April 28.

There will be a public forum from 9-10 a.m. April 29 in the University Union Havasupai rooms A and B to review the findings, process and plans for improvements.

The final report will be submitted May 1. The NCAA Peer Review Team is scheduled to visit NAU Oct. 22-24.

The reaccreditation process is a customary practice among NCAA members that occurs every 10 years. The NCAA began accrediting athletics departments in 1993. NAU was first accredited by the NCAA in 1998.