Public invited to examine department

Mai Hoang

Students, faculty, staff and others will have an opportunity to examine the athletics department like a doctor examining x-rays.

General Counsel Deborah Wilkins said a draft of the university’s NCAA recertification report will be available online on Western’s Web site.

People who view the report will be invited to submit their comments via e-mail to Western’s recertification steering committee.

The report is based on the work of several committees of more than 30 faculty, students, staff and community members. It answers questions about the operation of the athletics programs, the academic standards of its athletes, the financial standing of the department and other NCAA standards.

The NCAA requires its member schools to go through certification every 10 years. Western was one of the first schools to go through certification before it became mandatory. This will be Western’s first recertification.

The report will be online for about two weeks, said Wilkins, chairwoman of the steering committee. Posting it online is a way to get more people involved with the certification process, she said.

“Part of the NCAA process is to get as much campus and community involvement as you can,” Wilkins said. “Although we have students, student athletics and community members on our boards, this really opens it up.”

Wilkins said that several outlets, such as Hilltopper Haven, an independent message board devoted to Western athletics, will be notified of the availability of the report.

“We told the NCAA,” Wilkins said, “They thought it was a great idea.”

Associate athletic director Pam Herriford, a member of the recertification committee, said during the last recertification process several hard copies were distributed throughout major spots on campus, such as the library.

She said having the report online will make it easier for people.

“Anyone that has computer access – which is at this time, most people – will have time to look over the report without having to go to another place,” she said. “Hopefully it’s more convenient.”

Students had mixed feelings about the report being released online.

Morgantown sophomore Chris Hammers said he wouldn’t be interested in reading the NCAA report.

“I don’t see why it matters,” he said. “It doesn’t pertain to me.”

Bowling Green freshman Shane Green said the NCAA committee would not get honest feedback from anyone.

“People are going to support their program,” Green said. “I don’t think they would get a straight answer.

“A non-fan of athletics wouldn’t know. A lot of times people don’t care, so they wouldn’t give their input.”

But Russellville sophomore Steve Wood said he thought it was a great idea that everyone in the university has a say in what goes in the report.

“I’m really involved with Hilltopper sports,” he said. “I want to keep in touch with what’s going on in WKU sports. I’ll be very interested when it does come out to see what it say. “

Once comments and feedback are given, the steering committee will have its subcommittees work on any changes that may be needed. A final report is due to the NCAA Nov. 15. A peer group of officials from several universities will have the reports read before they come to Western for a visit in February.

“Unless we get some feedback that there’s something we overlooked, it’s pretty much ready to go,” Wilkins said.

Reach Mai Hoang at [email protected]