Arkansas Recertified With Conditions

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas' NCAA Division I athletics certification was renewed after a yearlong study on Thursday.

But the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics announced the university must meet a couple of conditions to receive its full recertification.

The process, which all Division I program must go through every 10 years, was completed when the committee released its findings Thursday morning. Arkansas was one of 16 programs certified. It also was one of three, joining Delaware State and New Orleans, certified with conditions.

"I am pleased that the university has been certified, albeit with conditions," chancellor John A White said in a statement released by the university. "I would like to express my appreciation to all members of the faculty and staff who participated in the process and note that the self-study and visit by the NCAA certification team identified 'opportunities for improvement' that will result in a stronger program for both men's and women's athletics."

According to the NCAA's Web site, the certification process is a self-study led by an institution's chief executive officer and includes a review of governance and commitment to rules compliance, academic integrity, equity and student-athlete welfare. Programs certified with conditions are operating in substantial conformity with Division I membership, but complete certification will be withheld until a couple of problems areas are corrected.

For Arkansas, one area was its failure to include rules-compliance directives as part of written job descriptions and evaluations for administrators outside the athletic department. The 16 individuals deal with responsibilities related to the school's athletic teams and directives must be included to ensure full conformity.

The second was that Arkansas didn't adequately explain its plan for expanding opportunities and support for minority student-athletes and athletic department personnel. The NCAA said the university didn't include three of the eight areas required and should provide more details and goals.

"The two conditions outlined by the committee in our report primarily ask for more details on initiatives that have already been implemented," men's athletic director Frank Broyles said in a statement released by the university. "We will provide the additional information to the committee in the coming weeks."

Arkansas has until March 1, 2006 to submit written evidence and make necessary corrections to gain full certification.

Bob Smith, Arkansas provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, and Derrick Gragg, senior associate athletic director, said through the university's statement that efforts to resolve the conditions are under way.

Smith said Arkansas will make necessary changes to job descriptions for 16 employees in the academic affairs area whose jobs include some level of responsibility for NCAA rules compliance. Likewise, Gragg said, Arkansas will review the language and information submitted to the NCAA in the past regarding its existing minority issues plan and restructure the plan to meet expectations.

Arkansas was a voluntary participant inthe initial certification project in 1992, which was adopted by the NCAA a year later.

Under the adopted rules, the university completed the certification process in 1997. That year, the Division I membership voted to change the frequency of athletics certification from once every five years to once every 10 years and also require a five-year, interim-status report.

That means Arkansas won't be required to participate in the recertification process again until 2014.

"I am glad the NCAA Certification Committee has completed its overall report and the process has run its course," women's athletic director Bev Lewis said in a statement. "The certification process is one of the cornerstones of the NCAA's reform package.

"I want to thank those persons on campus who took time from their busy schedules over the past months to serve on the University's certification committee."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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