The University of South Dakota received notification today from the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification that the school has successfully completed the self-study process pursuant to NCAA requirements for Division I membership.
"This is a significant accomplishment and I want to thank all of the faculty, staff and students as well as members of the community who participated in the self-study process," said James W. Abbott, USD president. "The self-study was very thorough and it afforded the university an opportunity to review athletics as a whole and to examine specific aspects of the department that both satisfies NCAA requirements and meets our own expectations."
The self-study process involved everything from educating the campus community about the athletic department's goals to demonstrating how athletics fits into the school's overall mission.
According to James Bandy, associate athletic director for internal operations for USD Athletics, the NCAA certification process included thorough reviews of all athletic department areas and featured interviews with university administrators, coaches and staff – athletic and non-athletic. He said broad-based participation was significant in the successful completion of the self-study.
"Participation in this comprehensive self-study assessment validates the commitment from the university as an institution and that we are moving forward in conducting our intercollegiate athletics program consistent with the operating principles and standards established by the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification in the areas of governance and commitment to rules compliance, academic integrity and student-athlete well-being," added Bandy.
The NCAA establishes benchmarks for all programs to achieve throughout a university's transition to Division I and in year four, that process included a self-study and site visit from a peer-review team, which was conducted at USD last September.
Now completing its fourth year of the Division I reclassification process, USD has taken the final steps in its transition to becoming a Division I athletic program. In 2011-12, Coyote Athletics – with the exception of football – participated as a member of the Summit League.
In the fall of 2012, Coyote football will become a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference.