NCAA Self-Study Ensures an Athletics Department KU Can Be Proud Of

May 20, 2009

Dear Jayhawk Fans:

As perhaps some of you have heard, Kansas Athletics currently is undergoing an extensive, NCAA-required self-study with the ultimate goal of achieving NCAA Athletics Certification. Earlier this month, we forwarded the first draft of that self-study to the NCAA for review.

Athletics Certification is not as ominous a term as it may first sound. It is a serious process that has – and will continue to – consume many staff hours, both by Kansas Athletics and the University, to ensure our self-report is thorough, accurate and delivers a fully transparent view of Kansas Athletics – not only to the NCAA, but to the greater Jayhawk community as well.

Yes, it’s a lot of hard work, but worth every minute we put into it.

The Athletics Certification process initially was approved by Division 1 institutions at the 1993 NCAA Convention. The goal was to ensure a fundamental commitment by all NCAA-member institutions to integrity in the operation of their intercollegiate athletics programs. The NCAA requires every Division I institution to conduct an athletics self-study every 10 years. Kansas has undergone this process twice already, and is the first institution to be reviewed in this, the third 10-year cycle.

Our self-study began in March 2008 with the formation of a university-wide steering committee. Those words “university-wide” are very important; it was critical for the integrity of this process that individuals representing the entire University – not just Athletics – participate in this self-study. The committee was ably led by Frank DeSalvo, associate vice -provost for student success, and Jerry Bailey, associate professor, educational and leadership policy studies.

Five subcommittees were formed to explore KU’s specific fulfillment of key operating principles, such as governance and rules compliance, academic integrity, gender issues, diversity issues and the general well-being of our student-athletes. I cannot thank Frank, Jerry and the members of those subcommittees enough for the enormous amount of time they selflessly devoted to this project over the past year.

Athletics Certification offers a unique opportunity to educate individuals across the campus about Kansas Athletics’ mission and goals, the many challenges that we face in athletics and, very importantly, the ways in which athletics supports the University’s mission. Our report also allows us to recognize our areas of excellence, while identifying areas that may need improvement.

What has our self-study told us? That Kansas Athletics is in a remarkably strong position at this time, even given the challenges and areas of improvement that exist.

Let me give you some of our accomplishments:

  • We developed an impressive strategic plan in 2006. Entitled Unparalleled Excellence, it has won national recognition, in particular for its Diversity Strategy section.
  • The athletics budget has more than doubled. Private fundraising and other funding sources have resulted in substantial improvements in our athletics facilities. This enables our student-athletes and coaches to compete at the highest level and provides the opportunity to achieve excellence.
  • We are tremendously proud of our recent athletic success, but while we are committed to winning, it is done with a watchful eye on the well-being of both our student-athletes and our University. There are now five full-time compliance staff members to ensure our ability to play ethically and by the rules.
  • Academically, our student-athletes are excelling in the classroom. It is a point of pride that our program’s overall GPA is setting records nearly every semester. Recently the NCAA recognized three KU teams – men’s basketball and men’s and women’s cross country – for academic achievement that ranks among the top 10 percent in the country in those sports.
  • We also have demonstrated a deep and unwavering commitment both to gender equity and diversity issues. Our sparkling new boathouse, and the new locker rooms for soccer and softball, are just the latest examples of that commitment.

We are proud of Kansas Athletics’ accomplishments and strides since the last certification process in 2000. The NCAA will review our report, provide analysis in July and then send a peer-review team to visit our campus in late October. We expect the NCAA Certification Committee to deliver its final decision by February 2010. The `grades’ range from `certified’ to `certified with conditions’ to `not certified’. You will know the result as soon as we do.

In the meantime, we invite you to review our draft report. It is located on our website at We welcome your input.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Lew Perkins
Director of Athletics