Certification process for D-I athletics moves forward

Ariy-El Boynton

Ariy-El Boynton

On Monday, March 12, SDSU athletic officials held a forum to explain the South Dakota State University Athletic department process of being NCAA Division-1 certified.

Among the individuals in attendance were President David Chicoine, a single student-athlete and members of the steering committee, which includes school administrators, staff, student-athletes, students and alumni.

SDSU learned of the NCAA Division-I Athletic Certification Program in 2003, when it made the jump to NCAA Division 1. The report is due to the NCAA on May 1 and will determine if South Dakota States is NCAA-certified in three key areas, according to the athletic department:

“(1) open up affairs of athletics to the University community and public,

(2) set standards (operating principles) for operation of Division-I athletic programs and

(3) establish sanctions for failure to conduct a comprehensive self-study or correct problems.”

In October representatives from Texas State University-San Marcos will arrive in Brookings and investigate the Jackrabbit compliance plan. In February 2008, Phil Hunt, the NCAA assistant director of membership services, will determine if SDSU is either “certified,” “certified with conditions” or “not certified.”

Only one determination will be given to SDSU.

A “not certified” or “certified with conditions” could mean a delay of NCAA transaction of full fledged D-1 status, or possible loss of NCAA privileges altogether.

A mark of certification means a $58,000 NCAA grant and a sigh of relief.

Athletic Director Fred Oien said being certified is “important, extremely important.”

He said the athletic behavior is a repsentive of the university and the student body as a whole.

Both he and Mary Kay Helling, vice president for academic affairs, seem confident that SDSU will be certified, and no obstacles are on the horizon.

Another open forum is scheduled in April of this year.

#1.883676:178780125.jpg:d1meetingthing.briankimmes.jpg:Athletic Director Fred Oien, left, and Vice President for Academic Affairs Mary Kay Helling, right, participate in an open forum discussing SDSU’s continuation toward becoming certified for Division-I athletics.: